We are all familiar with the 10 Commandments; God's list of moral rules for the people of Israel. We have a tendency to view them as 'rules to prevent us from having too much fun' but in all honesty, they are actually rules that would provide for our greatest joy! Can you imagine a society in which those commandments were largely obeyed by all? No dishonesty, no theft, no murder, no rape, no manipulation, no cheating...
When we look to Jesus we see him practicing and teaching the 10 Commandments, but we also see him amending them in some ways. He claims that there are 'higher' or 'greater' commandments behind the list from the Covenant through Moses. The Greatest Commandments are first, to love God with all of our being, and second, to love our neighbor as ourselves. Indeed, if we were to practice these two commandments as a society, we would fulfill the other 10 without even thinking about them!
But for all our talk about the 10 Commandments, and the Great Commandments, we have forgotten about a very different sort of commandment. It is God's 'most frequent commandment.' It may not be on the list, but its the one he repeats more often than any other commandment. For some reason, whenever God is interacting with a person, or a people, He finds it necessary to repeat the following commandment, over and over again:
Do not fear.
I will leave aside, for the moment, reflections as to why standing in the presence of God, or one of His holy angels, would prompt us to fear. The question stands before us, can you imagine a society where we were not motivated by our fear? …our fear of each other, our fear of embarrassment, our fear of conflict, our fear of failure, our fear of pain and loss, our fear of death? Can you imagine a society of Christians who walked into every dark corner of our world, neigh every dark corner of our soul! with abiding hope and faith in the goodness and power of God to overcome that darkness?
That is the society of God's Children, it is the church that God hopes for.
Do not be afraid.
Don't be scared.
Be not afraid.
Don't be afraid.
Do not fear.