Love Greater Than Fear

 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love because God first loved us. – 1 John 4:16-19(CEB)

Terrorist Attacks.  Fires, Floods, Tornadoes.  Gang Violence.  Domestic Violences.  Racism.

Turn on the news and there seems to be so much to be afraid of these days.  Do you live in fear?  Do you live skeered (scared)? Most of us do.

What are we ultimately afraid of?  Dying?  Pain?  Painfully Dying?

Passages like this one from 1 John remind me of a different way of living.  Not that we shouldn’t be wise, but that wisdom is born out of love, not out of fear.

I’ve had a hard time lately watching tv.  Commercial play on our desires and the news and politicians seem to promote fear.

I’m thankful yesterday to have heard a sermon from Rev. Eric Murray at Messiah Lutheran Church in Knoxville.  He reminded us that when the world seems to be spinning out-of-control (like Vertigo), there is a different way.  The way of Christ, the way of the Cross, the way of love and sacrifice.

This is the life that we who follow Jesus Christ are called to live, the life of love.  The Roman Empire in Jesus’ day, brought about peace through fear.  Jesus, on the cross, paints a different picture of the life that God is calling us to live.  Jesus’ Resurrection is the death of death.

This is not some “hippie” kind of love either, it’s a love that seeks justice, not retribution.  Living in love is harder than living in fear.

Today I hope to join my brothers and sister, as we stand together against racism at ETSU in support of those who have suffered the effects of racism and systemic racism at Mizzou and across our nations college campuses.  Collectively we will sit in silence for three hours.  (Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to sit silently for three hours unless I’m asleep?)  I’m sure there will be some folks who wonder what the white guy is doing mixed up in all this.  It’s love.  Some of my brothers and sisters are hurting because of the color of their skin.  Love calls me to suffer with them.

The challenge today is to live in love, not in fear, to live the way of Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord, you are love, and you set the example for us in the way of love and sacrifice.  May your love shine in us and through us to world of fear.  Amen.

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