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Fear & Love

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary is from Mark 13:24-27 this week.  Upon leaving the Temple, one of the disciples expresses his awe at the architecture of the temple.  Jesus replies that even Herod's Temple will end up in rubble.  Privately they asked Jesus when the destruction of the Temple would happen.  Jesus tells them that trials, wars, famines, disasters and false teachers will all come, but they won't be the end.  He describes the fall of the Temple and the statue of Zeus that would be set in it before it's destruction that would happen in 70AD, 40 years after this prophecy.  He empathizes with those that would suffer during those times, but then he offers hope in the verses we read today.  He tells them that he will come back, he will gather his people, and he will set all things right.

Today, as we live in a time of uncertainty, surrounded by and consumed by fear, can we pull from this same well of hope? Does it offer peace or comfort to know that Jesus is coming back?  Recently Nadia Bolz-Weber talked about how courage is not the opposite of fear, love is.  She explains that Jesus' encouragement to "fear not" does not suddenly lead to courageous acts, but that we can choose to love, even when we are afraid.  It reminds me of the often quoted "Courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to face your fear", but it adds something new, something important.  How you face your fear is the key, face it with love.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was a psychologist that studied human emotions. She determined that all human emotions stem from two main emotional core states, love and fear.  When I live in fear I turn internal and I worry about myself.  When I live in love I turn out and I seek to understand, empathize, and care for others.  In the world of the coronavirus Jesus is not asking you to charge into the situation as a knight in shining armor, but to trust him enough to turn outward.  Check on your neighbor.  Share your food and toilet paper.  Seek to understand the person who is afraid and hoarding themselves.  The beauty of the kingdom values in these situations is that when we live it, we begin to realize there is plenty for everyone if we are willing to share.

May God bless you with hope, love, and even courage this week!


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