In the wake of the bombings in Turkey and Belgium, and also the chilling refrains of daily news cycles, I am aware of a rising fear that appears systemic. I suppose in large measure it is systemic, but I am of the mind that the origins of such systemic or societal fear are actually individual. John Cassian, a monk and theologian of the early fifth century wrote, “It is not an external enemy we dread. Our foe is shut up within ourselves. An internal warfare is daily waged by us.” If I were to name that enemy, most days its name would be Fear. Fear of not enough. Fear of danger. Fear of violence. Fear of loss. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of different from ourselves.
Fear, it seems to me, is the absence of peace. That’s easy to say, and it implies that the act of turning off the fear and turning on peace is akin to flipping a light switch. Seriously, claiming peace is more difficult than flipping a switch or adjusting a phrase to speak of its presence. Finding peace, embracing peace, committing to peace, is hard. It is contrary to the world around us, which embraces, encourages, and propagates fear.
If you long for peace, I invite you to come take a walk. There will be dinner. There will be time in a garden. There will be moments where we witness the fruits of fear in form of injustice and violence. There will be death, but it will be revealed to us that the death we will witness will not be for naught. It will lead to life. The truth is, we all have to call out the tens or hundreds or thousands of small deaths at the hands of fear that dwell within us.
Come take a walk with me and find the place where Christ shatters the shackles of fear, and the bonds of death are cast aside so that we may find peace and daily increase in its life-giving, life-changing light. Come walk with me, and with the Cathedral Community, along the path of the Great Three Days of Holy Week. Maundy Thursday our walk starts with something new(at 7:00 pm), and it continues with a garden vigil. On Good Friday (at noon) the darkness of fear, our own and that of all humanity, confronts us – it is not fun, but it is necessary of fear’s bonds are to be broken. And on Easter Eve (at 8:00 pm) the New Fire is kindled, and the light of Christ shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. A new path, the one that leads us out of the valley of the shadow of death and fear, and into the way peace, is illumined.
Come. Join us in love’s labor of leaving fear for peace this Holy Week and Easter.