Thursday, June 6, 2013

Do Not Be Afraid

evening shadows
-peace in the desert-

Every morning I pick up my iPad and read the New York Times. The other day I noticed something I routinely do before reading the news. Just before I click on my Ipad to bring up the paper to my screen, I hesitate for a second. It's just a brief moment, but I hesitate because I have this underlying, unnamed fear that I'm about to read another story of some new disaster or new crisis that happened overnight.

I've been reflecting on my brief moment of hesitation before reading the news. We live in a time when underlying fear seems to occupy the national psyche. We have been deluged with images of terror, bombings, shootings, hurricanes, and tornadoes.  So I wonder if all of us have this sense of "waiting for the next shoe to drop," wondering when the next crisis will happen.

I look at my life and ask myself if there is a nagging sense of unnamed fear some place deep within me, how does this affect the way I approach my life every day? Do I live with courage, boldly passionate,  or am I timid and cautious, perhaps always "on guard" because of some vague sense of impending danger.

There is a constantly-repeated phrase that runs throughout both the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures. Throughout the Bible we hear the words, "Do not be afraid."

Speaking on Behalf of God, the prophet Isaiah tells the exiled people of Israel, "Do not be afraid for I am with you." When the angel comes to Mary and announces that God has chosen her to conceive the chid Jesus, the angel tells her, "Do not be afraid." On the night of Jesus' birth,  an angel appears to the shepherds and tells them, "Do not be afraid." Throughout his ministry, over and over again,  Jesus tells his often-frightened disciples, "Do not be afraid."

In similar fashion the Buddha teaches his disciples,"The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you."

We cannot control what will happen in our lives. Joy may come today, sorrow may also come. Today may be a day of peace or disaster may strike. Come what may, the Holy Presence abides. 

Fear (even a nagging, underlying fear) will eat away at the joy and the passion of living. 

Today I will hold fast to the teaching of my spiritual path,  and I will not be afraid.

No more hesitation.

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