A Pastoral Word
Be Not Afraid is one of most frequently used phrases in our Bible. Almost in every book of the Bible, we can find the words "Fear Not!" or "Be Not Afraid" (KJV). Just look at the graphic! Usually these words were said by an angel who just startled the lights out of a human, but isn't it interesting that the first reaction to God's messenger is fear?
Why are we so afraid of God's messengers? They were usually coming to share glad tidings or to let the person know that she or he was not alone in their calling to go and be prophets of peace and hope. And isn't that what Advent is all about? During Advent, we hear once again the promise of a child who is coming, a child who will bring healing and wholeness, a child who through his love and grace shows us what it means to not live in fear as the people of God. All through the stories we share during this time of year, we have example after example of how God's messengers showed up, shared some life-transforming news, and people were changed. People began to not live in fear.
Now, I fully admit that this seems easier said than done. Today, it is almost like we have been trained by the world that our first reaction to anything new should be fear. Fear is all around us. Fear has become the loudest noise in our world. We are constantly living in fear as a response to the craziness that fills our world. Hurt and Hate seem to be the only way people know how to inter-act with each other. Brokenness fills our world. Darkness seems to be overtaking the light.
People of faith, BE NOT AFRAID! It is time we remember that in moments just like these, moments when it seems like the darkness is overtaking the light, God sends us a messenger with the words, "Be Not Afraid!" In the moments when it seems like all hope is lost, God comes and offers us strength and courage. God comes and tells us we are not alone. God comes and reminds us to not be afraid. God comes and reminds us that God is with us.
This Advent, we will be taking a look at the various ways we as people of faith are called to not be afraid as we continue to bring healing and wholeness to all of God's creation. And who knows may-be we might just find the strength and the courage to go out into this world as prophets of peace and hope and shout - BE NOT AFRAID! I bring you tidings of great joy!