Radically Unafraid: the call of Advent

An angel called Thelma, Jan L Richardson

The angel came to Mary and said what angels say: “Do not be afraid.”

Is it a command? A suggestion? An offer of comfort? All of the above?
All of the above, I think.
When we are too afraid to imagine not being afraid: it is a command.
When we aren’t sure if fear is a viable response: it is a suggestion that encourages other possibilities.
When we are too frozen by fear to move or act: it is a word of comfort that fear is not necessary.

Right now, We really need to hear what the angels have to say.
We need to not be afraid.
It is the radical call of the Holy to live differently.

Right now, I have a good and solid foundation of anger. It helps me not to be afraid. I am angry at the injustices that have multiplied and expanded under Trump. I am angry about the systemic depth of cultural sexism, racism, and homophobia.  I am angry that the ‘light (we) hold beside the golden door’ is dimmed.
But for all that anger, I am also afraid.
I am afraid that we may not be able to recover our democracy.
I’m afraid that people will be imprisoned, lynched, put to death.
I am afraid Donald Trump will start a nuclear war to deter the investigation into his treasonous administration.

We need this season of angels telling us not to be afraid. For one thing fear paralyzes. Like Mary, We need to be able to be a part of all of us who are trying to bring about extraordinary change. We need to not be afraid to travel to places we haven’t been and do things haven’t done with people we do not know while living under an oppressive regime.
We need to nurture justice, peace, and hope in our very beings and  birth the reality of those things into the world.
And we can only do it if we are foolishly unafraid.

Being unafraid. There’s the rub. It is not easy. It is clearly, only, and absolutely a choice. We must choose to NOT be afraid over and over again. Sometimes moment to moment.
Let this be our spiritual practice in this sacred season and beyond: to choose to be unafraid. 

When fear does not constrict us we are empowered to act. So choose power over fear. Love over fear. Justice over fear. Peace over fear. The world needs us to be not afraid.


4 thoughts on “Radically Unafraid: the call of Advent

  1. Fear does not enter into it as much as disgust and anger.
    If I have a fear it is that thinking people will accept as the norm this hell we have been given. 2018 must be the beginning of the end of this GOP-induced nightmare.

  2. Thank you, Connie, for this reminder. This morning I was feeling very afraid – specifically of possible nuclear war – or I should say, nuclear destruction of the whole planet. Yes, not being afraid is a choice. So I need to take some action, act myself into feeling unafraid, or at least less afraid.

  3. This is one of those times I much prefer King James. To me, “do not be afraid” is an impossible command.
    •First, it’s passive. Do not BE. That’s not a call to action in my mind. It’s a call to already BE something. No need to make changes or be brave — you should already BE unafraid.
    •Second, it implies I’m not OK like I am. BE something else. I can hear my mother wailing, “Why can’t you be like your sister?!!” And my skin crawls. But that’s probably just me. Feel free to ignore this point.
    •Third, it implies that I shouldn’t even have this feeling that threatens to overwhelm me. Don’t even have it. Do not BE what you are.

    But “Fear not!” Ah, that’s another message. An active call to action. A commandment to cast the fear aside and choose what to be. Specifically, it’s a call to act as if you are unafraid. Be bold! Be courageous! You might BE afraid, but it doesn’t have to stop you from acting unafraid.

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