The What and Who of Meandering About

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Marketplace of Fear

There are merchants all around us that deal in the commodity of fear.  You can hear the shouts of the shop keepers who try as hard as they can to lure us in to buy what they are selling.  They work long and hard, 24 hours a day.  They must!  Their life depends on it.  They must convince others that what they have to sell is of utmost importance.  These traders will spare no expense to market their wares.  And the prospective customers walk through the narrow streets of Fear's Bazaar with wide eyes, furrowed brows and shortened breath. We find our insecurities tickled and our anxieties heightened. We cannot help ourselves.  We hear their voices and begin to buy everything we hear.  Somehow the more we buy, the more we need.  The more fear that fills our shopping bags, the more we feel we need to fear.  The cycle goes on and on.  And fear and its marketers gain strength and confidence beginning to believe that their merchandise is what the world desperately wants and absolutely needs.

The message that we hear in Fear's Bazaar is nothing but lies.  Fear preys on vulnerability and knows exactly where our weaknesses lie.  

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet is writing to a people living in fear.  They have seen all of the destruction around them and the devastation within and are afraid.  The prophet writes into this fear and says, "But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble. Who among them declared this, and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, 'It is true.' You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses, says the Lord. I am God, and also henceforth I am He; there is no one who can deliver from my hand; I work and who can hinder it? Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel...Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert" (Isaiah 43:1-20, NRSV).

Or what about this from 1 John? "So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:16-18, NRSV).  

Fear cannot stand in love's light.  Love, the kind of love that will stare anything in the face until it blinks, has nothing to fear.  And the good news is that we are loved.  Rather, we belong to love.  There is nothing that can change that.

So, what do you say?  Let's stand in LOVE.  Let's shut down Fear's Bazaar.  The fear mongers will have to find another line of work.  LOVE wins.  

"And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13, NRSV).

Slaying Dragons

Fear’s toxic breath fills the air
Permeating every corner of life.
Gaining power
As panic, fear’s insidious seed,
Spreads its inconspicuous roots
Choking out life in its twisted web.

Despite its apparent strength
This invisible dragon,
The world’s one true foe,
Can be slain
Through the power of choice,
Freedom’s first fruit.

Do not fear;
Choose to live
In the face of the beast.
Steal its power;
Stifle its incessant noise;
End its tyrannical reign.

Fear no longer has a foothold 
On those who choose to live
Courageously,
With eyes of hope,
Full of faith.
Behold, the dragon now silenced.
                                  -- Brian Shivers

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting these. They're very uplifting.

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  2. Thanks for this. My "word for the year" (as opposed to a New Year's resolution) is "courage". This was a timely read for me!

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