Do Not Be Afraid
I have a ring that I wear every day that says:
I found it in a Christian bookstore a couple of years ago right after my first-ever job lay-off. That was during a time of great fear… and having it on my finger was / is a constant powerful reminder. The same as Jesus’ words to the disciples when he first appeared to them after rising from the dead: Do not be afraid.
This is that same time of year actually. In two days will be the anniversary of the announcement that totally threw me off-life-course: Your position in this diocesan office is being eliminated.
And a few days after that came the ultimate throw-disciples-off-life-course… the death of Jesus.
Another time of great fear… only now you and I have the gift of knowing what comes on the other side of the darkness… resurrection.
Fear changes us.
Like all intense emotions, fear changes us from the inside out. In good ways and in not-so-good ways. We either succumb and shrink and let fear pervade every corner of our lives… or… we rise once more and march onward, mending our brokenness and trying to heal.
I have found from experience that I often have to pretend I am not afraid… and gradually it takes root deep enough that I start to actually believe it.
Sometimes that’s the only way I can overcome my fear.
The Circle of Life
Disney’s great movie The Lion King teaches us profound truth: the circle of life is the inherent nature of all things living. We accept this easily. Maybe because that’s just the way it is in the wild… animals do need to eat after all.
But this circle of life will play out for all of us this week in the Paschal Mystery… the death and resurrection of Jesus.
If we allow ourselves to fully enter the story… there will be fear. But it can change us from the inside out. Forever.
If we die with Jesus, then we will live with Jesus.
You will probably hear some version of this thought in a homily on Easter Sunday. Don’t dismiss it easily. The message is true. Trust me… I know.
“Do not be afraid,” Jesus says. “I have come to give you life that your joy may be complete.”
Fear can throw us off-life-course and change us from the inside out. No doubt.
But the power of Resurrection is stronger.