Monday, October 29, 2012

Courage versus Fear

Two Sides of Every Heart

The journey to the heart of God is very much like the journey to the heart of humanity. As we take that long path within, we face many demons and are comforted by many angels. Storms terrify us as this amazing storm, Hurricane Sandy, is doing now. When I was a child, it was Hurricane Carol in 1954. When my son was in New Orleans in 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, my heart was deeply troubled.)

In just the past few moments I heard from a parishioner who is terrified because of what a physician has told her about her heart. My doctors have told me too about things that I need to face, and I find myself often in fear.

Another friend called to speak with me (storms often light up the telephone lines) about the storm to be sure I'm ok. He also shared with me his fear over the outcome of the election. I assured him that we would very likely survive the outcome whatever it might be. This despite the dire predictions of both sides. Those of you who follow this blog know how I feel about this election.

But then I also remembered that civilizations have come and civilization have gone and the concern of God through the coming and going of civilizations has much to do with how we deal with justice and the least of God's children.

We might do well to heed the Scripture's concern for the poor. They are mentioned 213 times in the Biblical narrative. And the clear bias of the scripture in most if not all great religions, is on the behalf of those in need. Clearly Jesus teaches us that the nations will be judged on the basis of how well we treat the least of these, God's children. I have gone to great pains to read that passage into the record for any who may doubt the central importance of this Godly proclamation.

When necessary, we rebuild our civilizations, and those with staying power are those who understand the need to organize national life around human need. Churches would do well to organize their lives similarly.

So then fear fills the human heart as catastrophic events assault the human condition, at national, community, and individual levels.

Our lives, to be sure are filled with uncertainty, and we are ultimately left vulnerable to the caprice of nature.

Fear is understandable.

But then there is also courage. This is the other side of the human heart. If we think about it, courage is the only side of the heart of God.

Time and again we hear the angels speak to human beings and when they do; the message they bring is this: "Fear not!" In fact Scripture teach us to take courage in any number of places.

There are two side to the human heart; fear and courage. 

What I tell myself, so now I tell you; "Take courage".

As Jesus said to the storm; "Peace, be still".

Fr. Paul

PS Here's a wonderful rendering of St. Nicholas commanding the seas to be still. Love the stories of the saints.

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