December 12, 2019
Scripture: Luke 1:49-50
…for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
Thought for the Day: I will spent only a few moments on my soapbox, but while I’m here, I wish to reinforce something I’ve shared many times. These words are found in Mary’s Song, or what is often referred to as the Magnificat. It speaks about those who stand before God in fear, and how such people are the recipients of God’s mercy. Fear? Years ago, I remember a man leading a workshop who said, “I feared my father, and that’s why I loved him.” Those words caused so much conflict within me that I approached the speaker following the workshop and asked for an explanation. He basically told me that because we are to “fear” God and because God loves us, then fear is the proper emotional status of one who stand before any authority. Of course, as we talked more, it became clear that he feared his father because his father had beaten him as a kid. Though the man was now in his 60’s, he still justified the physical abuse as appropriate because that’s how authority figures show love. To be honest, it was one of the most screwed up and heartbreaking rationalizations I had ever heard. To suggest that we are to fear God, as in fear and trepidation, is unhealthy for any human being who believes God is love. Many more modern translations of the scriptures suggest the word AWE instead of fear. It is ok to be awestruck, breathless, astonished or gaping-mouth wowed when it comes to encountering the radical and redemptive love of God. But the moment we impose some sort of fear requirement to a loving relationship is the moment where love slips away and is replaced by some unhealthy and destructive understanding of what it means to be in a relationship. Thus concludes today’s soapbox offering!
Prayer: Where there is fear, O Gracious Spirit, there remains more for me to know about you. The perfect love you put on display in the gift of the Christ Child casts out all fear. Take me to the manger that I might once again glimpse your beautiful, awe-inspiring love. Amen.
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