Fear and Belief

My friend Diana sent me this quotation from Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, The Preaching Life.
Barbara is an American Episcopalian priest and one of today’s most outstanding preachers.
Her latest book is Always a Guest published in 2020. It is a collection of stories and sermons of faith, grace, humour and hope.

In this short extract she speaks to the human condition of our times and contrasts fear with belief and points us to Jesus to encourage us to let go of fear and embrace life, learning to love it, whatever difficulties we face, because He is with us.

Fear is a small cell with no air in it and no light. It is suffocating inside and dark. Belief is something else altogether. It is like a rope bridge over a scenic gorge, sturdy but swinging back and forth, with plenty of light and plenty of air but precious little to hang onto except the stories you have heard: that it is the best and only way across, that it is possible, that it will bear your weight. All you have to do is believe in the bridge more than you believe in the gorge, but fortunately you do not need to believe in it all by yourself. There are others who believe it with you. They have crossed the bridge in front of you and are waiting on the other side.

It takes a lot of courage to be a human being, but if Jesus was who he said he was, the bridge will hold. Believing in him will not put us in charge or get us what we want or even save us from all harm, but believing in him, we may gradually lose our fear of our lives. Whatever the human condition we find ourselves in, we may finally learn to live it, maybe even to love it, if only because we believe he lives and loves it too.

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