If ever there was a time to counter the voices of fear in our world, it's now. What does it mean for us to embrace, love, power and self-control in a world filled with fear, vulnerability and immediate impulses?
I was looking for a graphic for my bulletin and came across a quote from Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche communities. He is quoted as having said, "Every human being is a mixture of light and darkness, trust and fear, love and hate." I've gotta be honest, the rhetoric of fear during these months that lead up to national elections is almost unbearable for me. The partisan hate speech and the lack of listening becomes a constant voice around us in our social media feeds. I want to believe that amidst all of this, if I still myself, I can find that mixture that he is speaking of. I can see in myself light and darkness, trust and fear, love and hate so that I can find the light and darkness, trust and fear, love and hate in the person in front of me. Otherwise, I'm living on my own island, believing that my thoughts, my ethics, my ideals are better, wiser than the "other."
This admonishment to Timothy to "revive" the gift that's been given to you," seems like part of the key of recognizing who we really are. Underneath all of the darkness, fear and hate, we all have this tremendous reservoir of light, trust and love from which to draw every day in every way. Why then does it so often feel like our reservoirs are so empty or so polluted?
This gift that we have, the one that Timothy had - he's later told in verse 14 to protect this good thing that has been placed in your trust. Protect it, guard it. So then this gift, this reservoir within us of the gifts of God, someone what unique to us I'd imagine but also somewhat universal in the way they resemble the Spirit who gifts us, how do we both keep it safe and also revive it?
To embrace, revive the light, trust and love within us requires that we reveal our vulnerability, our weakness. Committing our ways to the Lord, trusting God will act and make righteousness requires the ability to wait in the midst of uneasiness, chaos even. Being still before the Lord, waiting for God, choosing to leave anger behind, requires tremendous self-control.
God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control.
Some touch down thoughts -
I'm interested in talking about the ways we run away from our feelings of vulnerability and fear. What are our "goto" addictions that numb the feeling of being out of control? How do we work to bring God into those moments, to remind us of the gift we have within us?
And it's World Communion Sunday. This Timothy text would work really well as an All Saints' Day Text with the theme of faith passed down to us. On a global scale, what is the faith we are passing down to live beyond us?
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