Monday, August 8, 2011

Once more Love or Fear

In the passage we have from Deuteronomy today, the people are given the instruction, "So you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt." I have no intention here of wading into the immigration debate.

My mind is taken back to what started the whole story leading up to this point in the history of the people of Israel, fear. If we go back to the beginning of exodus, the people of Israel, the foreigners in Egypt, were becoming numerous. The Egyptians began to fear that soon they would be outnumbered by the Jews. It was fear that transformed the peaceful co-existence of the Jews and Egyptians, into the ill-treatment and all that would follow.

If there is one thing that is clear and consistent from old testament through new, it is that when we allow our fears to drive our decision-making, whether as individuals or communities, we make bad choices.

Each day it seems some new piece of news comes out which could frighten us. And it doesn't help that it gets spun in the worst possible, most sensational way always.

I never thought I would write this but perhaps it's time to mediate on money.
It still says, "In God we trust," but do we really?

These words first appeared on a coin in 1864, in the midst of our civil war. We emerged from that horrible conflict wounded but not broken. In truth, our present problems are nothing in comparisons to the death and destruction of the civil war. We can emerge from this as well, but we must not allow fear, and its companion anger, to overcome us, to be what drives us. The fears of the Egyptians ultimately drove them into the Red Sea where they drowned.

Perhaps it's time for all sides to spend less time talking, and more time praying. Only in silence can we hear the tiny whispering wind of yesterday's first reading, and allow the love of God to show us the way out.