Afraid of the Dark (November 5, 2012)

…Opening To…

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer… I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me… Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. (Frank Herbert, Dune)

…Listening In…

When the wind had driven them out for about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water. He was approaching the boat and they were afraid. He said to them, “I Am.Don’t be afraid.” (John 6:19-20; context)

…Filling Up…

Many years ago in a dusty volume, I read an old Bene Gesserit litany against fear, and this prayer has stuck with me every since. “I must not fear,” says the litany. “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Now that dusty volume was Frank Herbert’s Dune, the best selling science-fiction novel of all time, but the words of the litany ring true nonetheless. “I must not fear… Fear is the little-death… I will face my fear.”

From the time we are young children, our parents echo these words and tell us to face our fears. Perhaps you were afraid of the dark. So you mother let you sleep with the lights on for a while. Then she turned the lights off and left the bedside lamp on. A few days later, she turned off the bedside lamp and plugged a nightlight into the wall near the door. Pretty soon, you didn’t even need the nightlight. Your mother helped you face your fear of the dark, and you overcame it.

This week we are going to talk about fear. We’ve done this a lot this semester, but perhaps it’s because fear is so pervasive in our lives and in our society that we need to discuss. Or at least, I find that I do. We’ll start with our childhood fears and see where they lead us.

…Praying For…

Dear God, when I am afraid you are there to calm my fears. Help me to remember your presence. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you God, ready to face my fears with the knowledge that you are with me.

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