I sometimes describe my Divinity School degree as a master’s degree in fear. Faith can be a hand in need, a comfort in sorrow, a light in the darkness. And one of the most repeated phrases in the Bible is “noli timere” – be not afraid.*
Friends, there is a lot to fear. This weekend marks Samhain, Halloween, All Saints Day, and Dia de los Muertos, when we are close to the spirits of our ancestors and we are tipping into the darker part of the year. We have elections in the United States, with division and suspicion and anger all around. We are still living under a pandemic cloud, with separation and risk and complication and suffering woven throughout. And then there’s, you know, life, which can be joyful and glorious and also painful and uphill-feeling at times.
But why do all these fears exist? They exist because we love. We love our lives and our families and our communities and our planet. We love parties and having a say and exploring and nesting. We love ideas and rivers and neighbors and mini chocolate bars.
Dear ones, when the fear arises, let’s think of the love at it’s root. From that love it is a short skip to courage – strength of the heart.
Be not afraid.
* These were also the final words of poet Seamus Heaney to his wife. In Latin, of course.
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