Dear Friends and Parishioners across our parish and beyond,
The summer is almost behind us and autumn is tapping on the windows as wind and rain batter our island, but at least we have had relief from the corona virus for the past few months and pray that it will be so for the months ahead also. This year has been one of many different emotions, especially fear. Covid 19 and its repercussions have brought alarm, anxiety and concern into numerous areas of life besides our health. Other illnesses continue to trouble many people, as well as worries about climate change and ecological damage to the environment. Social unrest in numerous parts of the world along with natural and man-made disasters have made 2020 a year of fear and catastrophe.
Fear is one of the first emotions to be noted in the Bible. We read in Genesis 3:10 how Adam hid himself from God because he was afraid. Throughout the Bible fear is a recurring emotion but it is not necessarily a negative one. As people of faith we are expected to fear God, not because of divine wrath but so that we may offer due reverence and obedience appropriate to God’s power and authority. Fear of God is a sign of our human understanding of the primacy of God over us, a God who prefers to graciously give us love, mercy and all that is necessary for our well-being, even His Son Jesus. It is through the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist that we discover this gracious aspect of God’s nature. These are outward signs of the out-pouring of God’s grace, the unmerited favour of God to us. Despite our fallen, sinful disposition God loves us, forgive us and longs for us to be reconciled to Him. It is through Jesus that we most clearly see this positive aspect of fear of God as awesome reverence. It is this understanding of fear of God that gives us hope, not despair, no matter how dire things seem.
It would be easy to look at the world and withdraw from it in fear believing ourselves to be abandoned by God or even punished by divine anger. The ills of our time are evils to be fought and for that we need God’s help. We need to cast out fear of evil power and intent and embrace the awesome power of God which overcomes all evil, including the power of death. I leave you with two Bible verses that remind us of God’s will to protect us from fear.
‘God’s Spirit doesn’t make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father.’
‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.’
1 John 4:18
Love and blessings