Today is diwali the celebration of light winning over darkness, how fitting a reminder, for me a Christian when mercy and justice are hard to find today.
Every time an angle appeared, every time God speaks, fear is cast out. God doesn’t want us to live in fear, God wants us to live into hope.
But that’s hard, its hard when attacks occur all over the world on one day–Beruit, Paris, Baghdad. Its difficult when gun violence continues to cause school shooter drills and institutional racism is unveiled again and again and again.
So what I do is, I cry. I pray. I look at the stars. I light candles.
(until we find the right words, we’ll light candles–Martha Spong)
I live in hope.
This expression is one I use when things are uncertain. I toss it off in casual conversation as though it is easy, but it is so, so difficult.
Worrying is a human past time. Its a way to cope with the reality that evil is in the world. It is a tool that can be overused to the point where we worry too much and forget to live.
Fear also, is interesting. As Christians a tenant of our faith is the fear God. We are not supposed to base our decisions on what could happen, we are not supposed to live our life based in fears, we aren’t supposed to live into the worry and the guilt, because the truth is, we humans do not function well in those state.
When we are anxious and afraid, when we are guilty or judgmental, we make bad decisions.
No doubt, this is why over and over again we are urged only to fear God. “Those who fear God” is an expression in the Old Testament to describe all those who are trying to follow God instead of giving in to other things. But then God tells us over and over again to fear not. And counsels us to hope and trust in what is going on….
Its hard not to fear, not to worry that I’m not secure enough in money or friendships. Its hard when my body does not function the way I want it to, or when my children get hurt from the bad things that go on in the world. Its hard when the news talks a lot about the problems of the world and little about the solutions. Its hard when refugees and children are dying from violence and rejection. Its hard when people proclaim “its not like it used to be” with authority as if evil is new and spreading instead of being old and already defeated by Jesus.
But I live into hope.
I practice not being afraid.
Building trust, assuming people are trustworthy, treating everyone with respect and kindness.
Because those are hope building practices, and this is how to defeat evil. This is how #hopewins, this is how we defeat #terrorism, not with weapons or policies, but with the refusal to live a life of fear.