Look at that girl. You’d hardly know that when we got her from Paddy’s Paws, she was so scared, that she’d have little to do with any of us. Oh, there were short moments when she was not afraid, mostly with my wife and later with me and our adult children. But it took time; she had to learn to trust, to love and to be loved. It was hard.
I have a love-hate relationship with fear. I think in our world today we are too fearful, too scared, too everything! On the other hand, fear has its place; when you see a wolf strolling through your neighborhood it is best to get the puppies in the house asap!
Now she is a spaz, just like the rest of us, total goofball. Oh, she still has an irrational moment or two, like when we move a piece of furniture she goes on high alert for a while, but mostly she is a loveable girl that is so full of joy and happiness she will hardly sit still for a photo shoot!
Our reading today is all about fear and trust. At first glance you may think our text for today is a typo, it sounds very Old Testament, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But it is Stephen speaking to the Sanhedrin. He is telling these religious leaders their own history, and showing them where fear gets them, and that is no place. Fear forms the back to Egypt committee; fear does not free them. Oh, did this tick them off! Stephen gets stoned, and dies, but does so without fear for the promise of one whom he trusts and sees is there form him.
As we move to the cross we see that God is on the move as well. The road to freedom has many exits named fear, but it is trust in the promises of God and the love and grace of God that free’s us to live as we were meant to live, in joy and peace, even in a world that can be so very frighting.