Yesterday, the Santa Barbara clergy acssociation met and our speaker was our local representative Lois Capps. Lois is a woman of faith and integritywho always challenges this group of pastors to be engaged in meaningful ways.
We talked some about immigration and the need for secure borders. It was quickly surmised that much of the discussion is driven by fear. One of the clergy present commented that "Fear not" is a dominant theme in the Bible and it is a command given much more often than "Be holy." It was the first thing said at the empty tomb on Easter morning.
I was struck by the power of that command... and by how often I/we act out of fear rather than trust. Certainly fear drives much of our current political process and fear has been used as a tool to entrench power. Churches often plan from fear as they worry about preserving bank accounts, drawing new members to ensure the future of the church... As individuals we live from fear with doors and hearts locked, priorities that look to a future that may never arrive while ignoring the joys of the moment, we fear the stranger, the kids on the corner, a culture that is changing rapidly... you get the idea. Like the women at the tomb, we even fear God when God does the unexpected, no matter how wonderful.
If "perfect love casts out all fear," then I want to know more love and less fear. I want to trust in the goodness of God and in the call that God has placed on my life rather than fear the things I imagine. No... I want to imagine new things... things based on that perfect love rather than fear.