Run Toward, Not Away from Fear
Tensions are running high for Jesus and his followers. He is starting to anger the religious leaders to the point that they are ready to put an end to his reign of chaos (their perspective). But they are also afraid of the wrath of the people that love and follow Jesus. They are stuck. They see very few options. Their being trapped makes them afraid, and their fear makes them dangerous. Ultimately, it is this fear that will lead them to crucify Jesus. Ironically, the very thing they feared (the earthly reign of Jesus) became the thing they brought about by their fearful actions (the eternal reign of Jesus).
Often I have let fear rule my actions or my inaction. Rarely has it led to anything good. When I reacted out of fear instead of logic, compassion, or love, the outcome has been grim. When I failed to act because of fear, I have regretted not doing something. On the other hand, when I have faced my fears, and ran straight at them, acting out of love despite my fear, I have always come out the other side better than I went in. Even if my actions resulted in failure, I learned from them. When my actions resulted in success, I could revel in the joy a minute, knowing I had conquered a fear. Fear is uncomfortable, but it is not ultimately harmful. If I face a fear every day, just imagine what I can accomplish in my lifetime!
Narrative Lectionary Text: Luke 20:9-19
He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Heaven forbid!” But he looked at them and said, “What then does this text mean: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.