Do Not Be Afraid

Scripture lessons: Psalm 138, Luke 5.1-11

Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
      – Psalm 138.8 (New Revised Standard Version)

sunset.water.darien

by Ed Horstmann

One of the great saints of the church was Teresa of Avila—a Spanish woman who lived during the sixteenth century. Renowned as an energetic reformer of the church and a trustworthy friend to all who knew her, she wrote the following words: Let nothing upset you, let nothing frighten you; everything is changing, God alone is changeless; patience attains the goal; who has God lacks nothing, God alone fills all her needs.

St. Teresa was saying that the consistent love of God for the earth and all people is intended to give us courage to live with strength and vision in the midst of a world that is constantly changing. The steadfast love of God endures forever, says the author of Psalm 138. Thus whether we experience illness or doubt or uncertainty about the future, this love abides and is ever available to us. “On the day I called,” writes the psalmist, “you answered me; you increased my strength of soul.”

Despite changes of political whim and social upheaval, the word of God is “do not be afraid.” It is that call to boldness that undergirds the words of Jesus when he tells his prospective disciples to “put out into deeper water.” The deep waters of risky loving and hopeful living are where we shall be sustained by a God whose love is unending. 

Prayer: O God of love, grant us a full measure of your presence, that we may not fear the changes around us and within us, but embrace those things about our world that make for peace and justice; in Jesus’ name. Amen.