What a very different greeting than the words that lead off our nightly news… fear arises as________ panic engulfs___________…. you can fill in the blanks.
The funny thing is human reactions to both Jesus blessing of peace, and today’s headlines of horror are about the same… The disciples we are told were “terrified” and how many people after hearing and seeing today’s news program are left in the same state.
Why are we so easily scared? I mean it is our default response to almost everything. I walk into the room and my wife doesn’t expect me, she looks up and she is scared out of her whits. She says “don’t do that to me” and I am like… ummm… what walk around my house? I mean it wasn’t like I was trying to sneak up on her (though I have done that!) I was just walking by her, in fact I wasn’t even in “her space” when she was startled. Go figure…
I am a Sci-Fi fan. Mostly books, but I am a big fan of both the major franchises, Star Wars and Star Trek. However, most of the books I like when made into movies are just plain old dung!
Because they tend to focus on the fear and not the hope. Most Sci-Fi I can’t stand is because the authors, writers, producers cast their eyes on the future and all they see is fear. Dark and dreadful, foreboding and often very alarming. I also find it very interesting that in human vs. Alien stand offs we are nearly
always the good guys, if humans are the bad guys is is often because of some horrific mutation, that makes the bad guys no longer fully human.
Take a look at the current Swine Flu hubbub… I mean, yes the flu can be horrible… and it does cost some of the most vulnarable their lives… but is it worth this panic? This absolute fear that grips us and fills our news papers and TV headlines…
Seriously… in a country of nearly 110 million people, 20 deaths have been confirmed, yet the news papers and on-line news outlets continue to flaunt numbers and phrases like this… “The death toll in Mexico is believed to be 160.”
Believed to be?? This is hard news?? Aw… come on.
Even so, these deaths though sad, are not out of the norm. Yearly flu of the more garden variety takes anywhere between 50 -150 small children each year in the US. They can’t even give you an accurate guess as to how many adults die, there are just too many other factors.
Now I am not saying fear is bad, in fact it is good it is what keeps us alive. We are litterally hard wired for fear, but not to be fearful. Fear saves us in what could be quite nasty situations, preditors, bad dates, or even zombies that only want us for our tasty brains.
Living in a state of fearfulness is bad, it keeps us from living the life God intended. When people are too fearful to help one aonther, when we are fearful of our finances or healh or anything we are all diminished.
When Jesus bid his disciples “Peace be with you” he was blessing them with a shalom, a peace, that enables the abundant love God intends for each of us, so that we might boldly go where… well wherever…with the good news that in Christ we are all called to life, now and forever, fear not!