Every time an angel shows up in scripture some of the first words spoken are, “Fear Not!” An angel appears to Zechariah in the temple to tell him that he and his wife will have a son and says, “Fear Not!” An angel appears to Mary to tell her she is going to be the mother of the Messiah and says “Fear Not!” Shepherds were tending their flocks in the fields when an angel appeared to tell them about Jesus being born and they started their message with, “Fear Not!” When the women came to the tomb on the morning of the third day after Jesus was crucified there was an angel that said, “Fear Not!”
Angels strike fear in the hearts of men and women when they appear. However some of us are afraid to BE angels–to BE messengers of God’s good news. The word angel literally means “messenger.” Hidden within the word evangelism is the word “angel.” “Ev-angel-ism.” An evangelist is a good message deliverer. In that sense each one of us can be angels—if we carry the message of the good news of Jesus.
Some of us are afraid to be angels. We don’t take the message of God’s love to others because WE are afraid. We are afraid of what they might think of us. We are afraid that we will hurt their feelings. We are afraid that we will turn them off. We are afraid that they will ask us something we can’t answer. To that I say, “Fear Not!
I love it when Beer Commercials tout the merits of their beverages as being better than their competitors. At the end of their pitches some of them say, “Drink Responsibly.” In the midst of our days of being scared by an unseen virus we need to Fear Not! We also need to “Think Responsibly.”
Our Faith teaches us not to fear. Our minds teach us to take precautions. We can do both. In the face of this unseen virus we are not to fear. We are to use our minds to protect ourselves and especially protect those who are most vulnerable. So we decided after worship last Sunday that we will not gather to worship for at least the next 15 days. We will be exercising physical distancing, but not social distancing. We will still keep in touch through phone, calls, emails, social media, and especially prayer until such time we are able to gather together again. I believe that when we do we will have a greater appreciation for our ability to do so.
We do this not out of fear, but out of respect for one another. We do this out of compassion for those who are ill. We do this to do our part to prevent the spread of something we cannot see. We do this to be able to BE ANGELS, to be EvANGELists who will be able to bring the good news of Jesus love for all people as long as we can.
We do this because we want to obey scriptures injunction to fear not! We do this because we want to do everything in our power to love courageously. We do this because we want to use the minds God has given us to beyond the Beer Commercials injunction to drink responsibly and use our sound minds to think responsibly and … and act accordingly. “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7