As we continue to read from John's letters in these last days of Christmas, and first days of 2011, we hear two of his most concise but profound phrases.
In the first, "God is love," we see that for Christians love is not an emotion but the very presence of God in us. Secondly, and perhaps even more important to us these days, he writes "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear...."
As we begin this new year we seem to be surrounded by conditions and events that raise our sense of uncertainty about the future, which in turn raises our level of fear. Perhaps what is really happening is that we are being forced into a more realistic assessment of the limits of our power.
How do we live with a sense of very limited power and not be afraid? Faith. By faith I don't mean some kind of intellectual assent to a list of propositions about God, but an abiding trust in that loving presence of God in us and with us. Only if we keep ourselves grounded every moment of every day in that love can we have a life in which, as John says, "There is no fear."
And when we feel those fears and anxieties rising up in us, let them simply serve as a call to pause and reground ourselves in the only true power, God .