Meditation Monday – Let Fear Become Love
by Christine Sine
Over these first few weeks of Lent I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the theme Let Fear Become Love. I started with thinking about what I am afraid of and how I could overcome those fears. Then I reflected on what kind of a response would come if I allowed love to speak. This week I contemplated the words Let Fear Become Love. I have coloured large letters of my theme in Zenfyrkalt font. It has been both fun and profound.
To be honest I was not sure how much I would enjoy this. I have not been able to enter into the current craze for colouring books. I find myself a little overwhelmed by the complexity of the patterns and the amount of colouring that needs to be done to complete a picture. A single letter is another matter. I can complete it in a couple of minutes. I recite my words as I colour, and easily see the pattern even when it is not complete.
I have followed this with a bible search of the word “love”, starting last week in the Old Testament and this week focusing on the New. Once again it was an unexpected verse that stood out for me.
I was reminded of Thomas Merton’s Seasons of Celebration where he says:
God’s People first came into existence when the children of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt and called out into the desert to be educated in freedom, to learn how to live with no other master but God himself.”
Our so called freedoms are so often dependent on the enslavement or exploitation of others. I don’t think any of us will be truly free until all who are created in God’s image are free. In some ways we are all still living in the wilderness learning to live for God alone.
Adversity encourages mutuality, sharing, generosity and cooperation. It encourages us to take notice of the weak and vulnerable and hopefully to accept our responsibility to care for them. It writes the laws of God on our hearts not just on our minds. In fact I wonder if as a world society we need periodic seasons of Lent in which we can be educated into the freedoms of life lived in a covenantal relationship with God.
As Walter Brueggemann reminds us: Biblical faith is an invitation away from autonomy to covenantal existence that binds the self to the holy, faithful God and to neighbors who are members in a common economy. (Quoted from From Anxiety and Greed to Milk and Honey in Sojourner’s Magazine)
True freedom, the freedom that flows from the heart of our loving God grows by sharing love. God’s love in us grows as we enter into this freedom. It seemed very appropriate to contemplate this in today’s world. We live in a world in which many are afraid of losing their freedom. They build walls to protect themselves from those who are different, yet their actions are more likely to increase their bondage and their fear.
What Is Your Response?
It is only as we reach out to those who are different with love, compassion and generosity that we find true freedom.
Think about your own life. Are there places where you have given up freedom and become bound because of our lack of love towards others?
Take some time to ponder this. Read through Galatians 5: 13-15, and then that great passage on love, 1 Corinthians 13. As I did so this prayer bubbled up from my heart.
I look for your love Lord.
Plant it in our hearts.
Water it, grow it,
Nurture it to maturity.
Let it bear the fruit of freedom,
the harvest of loving others as we love ourselves.
Free us from the bondage of fear, and hate and anger.
Let us not lose our grip on your love, Lord.
Help us to trust you from the bottom of our hearts.
Let your love speak to us, Lord.
May it prompt us to be forgiving,
To seek to restore that which is broken,
In us, in others, in your creation.
Let our fear become love,
Abounding in patience, kindness and compassion.
Sharing generously, justly and faithfully,
Proclaiming justice, righteousness and truth.
Let our fear be transformed into love.
Love never gives up
Never loses faith,
Is always hopeful,
Endures through all circumstances.
This love will never die.
It will last forever.