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Lenten Devotionals Thursday March 2, 2023: Fear of Others

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”  (Hebrews 13:2)

In the Bible, angels appear to deliver divine messages or serve as od’s representatives.  They announce and proclaim good news of great joy while also terrifying the hardiest shepherds, used to protecting their flock from wild animals prowling at night. (Luke 2:9)

Our first response to someone we don’t know or don’t understand is often fear.  Unhelpful stereotypes and myths fan the flames of prejudices.  We have inherited many of these prejudices.

Our fears of others keeps us from entertaining angels, messengers of God who might not look or act like us, but have divine gifts.  Releasing the weight and tension of fear allows us to cross boundaries of difference, challenge prejudice and deconstruct biases.  It will take a lifetime of intentional and honest interior work to free ourselves from the barriers of fear.  But it is worth it to receive the good news God’s angels offfer from their new diverse perspectives.

Examine:  Sit with your fear of others.  Breathe.  Notice thoughts and feelings that arise.

Imagine:  Call someone you fear to mind.  Imagine this person surrounded by the light of God’s angels.  Imagine the person is speaking to you, bringing you a divine message.  What do you hear?

Pray:  Free me from fear, O God, so I can live with faith.