Well it feels somehow appropriate. We get a Friday the 13 in this Lenten season, and like any good horror movie, the villain of this Lent has just jumped right out from behind the epidemiological tree to give us a good scare! As any horror aficionado knows, there’s always a villain somewhere. I mean, let’s review…Freddy, Jason, that sick little clown Pennywise (Clowns…why it’d have to be clowns. I hate clowns Jacque!), the great white shark from Jaws, the Night King, Baron Harkonnen, Sauron or Shelob, Moriarty, Darth Sidious, Daleks, Voldemort, the White Witch, the mad Titan Thanos….whew are we done yet?! Oh, don’t forget the xenomorph endoparasitoids (no, don’t ask or look it up if you don’t know already what that word means…trust me you really don’t want to know) from Alien, or the Walkers from the Walking Dead (Zombies…why it’d have to be zombies?! I hate zombies! I hate them Jacque!), or even the Children of the Corn (confirming every suspicion I’ve ever had about corn).
Yep. Friday the 13th, 2020 is all about the horror, fear and unknown which lies in front of us. It’s about time for our hero to appear, and in fact, we Christians believe our hero has already arrived to save the day, the year, and all eternity. His name is Jesus, which actually means to save, rescue and redeem! And do we need a savior now more than ever! The first believers made the heroic and courageous choice to shift the two titles reserved and required to use for the Roman Emperor, Lord and Savior, to Jesus alone, paying for this decision with their lives. The public identification of these titles with their Lord made the most astounding statement: Jesus, not Rome, held ultimate authority and power over every other visible and invisible entity in this world or any other in the vast cosmos! If one examines closely any or all of the literary and cinematic franchises whose villains appear above, and why in the world why would one not take that time and effort (!!), one will discover quickly that the heroic man or woman or team opposing these dastardly evil villains reflect, resemble and resound with Christ-like qualities. Our created heroes spring from the one true hero of all humanity, as there is no other place to look!! A member of the Johannine church wrote in a New Testament letter that perfected love casts out all fear, a divine love received from Jesus Himself and deployed under His auspices. There is no room for fear in a heart of love! God’s love can conquer, calm and quell even the darkest of villains. As we face this approaching storm of COVID-19, I am working to choose love over fear. I chose Jesus.
- A very good Lenten discipline is to reflect and perhaps journal our deepest fears and place them in prayer at the throne of our Lord for His disposal. What is under our life journey bed that goes bump in our spiritual life? Can we honestly confront, identify and name our fear?
- Another good but challenging spiritual discipline is to verbally or visually embrace your fear to surround it with love. This is not an easy assignment but sometimes necessary to make progress in our spiritual walk. I am happy to explain more about this privately and help anyone do this.
- How is God perfecting our ability to love in the face of fear this Lent? Right now as the world turns upside down?