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The Bulletin Insert Sunday 13th November, 2016 ‘How to be Afraid’

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert   Sun 13th Nov 2016

‘How to Be Afraid’

No one likes to experience fear. It’s unpleasant, and it’s not our natural state. But it’s a part of life – our instinctive response to fear can be a lifesaver in times of danger. Two meanings of the word fear are featured in this week’s Gospel reading and both are important. The first meaning suggests the kind of fear we experience watching horror movies, or when we are alone in the house at night and hear a strange noise. We see this in Luke’s warnings of the frightening times ahead. But Luke also includes another kind of fear – fear of God – which refers to an attitude of awe. This kind of fear is defined as an overwhelming reverence for and admiration of that which is grand, sublime, and powerful.

We can sometimes be like the ancient people who believed the universe revolved around the earth. We may think we are the centre of things and that God spirals around us, answering our prayers, making us peaceful, making our side win the football match, finding us a parking space and so on. But another less egocentric way of seeing things put God at the centre of everything, with us circling around God.

We owe loving reverence to such a powerful being, and that is the second meaning of the word fear. We bow down before the God who quietly maintains everything in existence: galaxies, lands, cities, humans, butterfly wings, hearts, and most definitely, souls. Why would we let anything else serve as the absolute centre of our life?

 

Adapted from Fr. John Foley S. J. http://liturgy.slu.edu/33OrdC111713/reflections_foley.html

 

Isaiah 65 :17-25   The Glorious New Creation

6517 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. 20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They shall not labour in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—and their descendants as well. 24 Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent -its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

 

2 Thessalonians 3: 6-13     Warning against Idleness

36 Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labour we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. 9This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. 11For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 13Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.

 

Luke 21: 5-19 The Destruction of the Temple Foretold

215 When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.’ 7 They asked him, ‘Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?’ 8And he said, ‘Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and, “The time is near!” Do not go after them. 9 ‘When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.’ 10Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. 12 ‘But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.