Readings: Isaiah 12:2-6; Amos 6:1-8; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid,
for the Lord God is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.
Isaiah 12:2, NRSV
There are snakes, bees, and spiders living in my yard. I don’t see them very often, except when I am gardening. Then my thyme is humming, covered in bees, and there are webs connecting the butterfly bush to the daffodils. That green/brown on the stepping stone isn’t the stick I thought it was: it slithers off when my weeding hands are inches away. There’s a whole world of creatures living around me, and sometimes their unexpected presence startles me. If I move among the plants expecting to encounter nothing, their presence can be momentarily frightening. If the fight or flight instinct kicks in, I could injure them with flailing hands or crushing feet. My fear can harm these harmless neighbors who nurture my garden and enrich my life.
Knowing that God holds me fast gives me the chance to live in my own back yard with curiosity rather than in fear. I’m much less likely to harm the one who startles me because I won’t assume that I’m in danger. The beauty of spiderwebs, the buzzing of pollinators, and the stillness of the garden snake are gifts to treasure, not threats to eliminate.
If a life without fear can preserve the visitors in my garden, perhaps it can do the same beyond my hedge. I just might dare to see beauty and mystery in this great big world rather than imagining that everything means me harm. I just might see the world as God sees it: broken, beautiful, worthy of my love and sacrifice.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
[Photos by Jared Fredrickson]