Things Angels Say...

            "Fear Not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name." - Isaiah 43

Have you ever noticed how frequently the first communication that is given by God or the agents of God (angels, prophets, priests, etc) in the Biblical narrative is a reminder to the characters and those hearing the narrative to "fear not". Seriously, every time an Angel appears the first command is literally, "fear not." Which I mean makes sense right....I know I would probably be freaking out if a being suddenly appeared before me...especially if they didn't look completely human. Yet the command not to fear is something that goes deeper that unexpected visits from supernatural creatures. In it's broader sense, such as the above quote from Isaiah, the command is God's way of calling us to something deeper in the nature of being in relationship with this God. It is a reminder that when we are people of God, we will be asked and expected to live a life that is not safe. That requires us to "fear not".  Yet, this doesn't mean that we go out and do foolish things or that we disregard fear, rather these interaction teach us the value of naming and facing our fears as our first action. It is only after we name the fear, that we can open up and move into the next step, the message being relayed by the Divine. I think naming fear is often our first command because the message frequently is connected to a people, place, or action that is tied to fear.  Think about it, how can we engage in the call of Christ to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, if we don't first name the risks and fears that are involved. As we approach this weekend and up coming holiday that will be filled with celebrations that highlight both sides of the story openness and fear, especially in our current political climate and the way patriotism and nationalism is manifest, let us be rooted in the awareness that we are called and chosen people of God commanded to fear not, to radically love, and go forth with blessing beauty and hope. 

~Jessi Knippel