One hymn, The Servant Song, had this verse: “I will hold the Christ-light for you, in the night-time of your fear, I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.” Obviously, I am not the first to wonder how to help a friend caught in fear and I hope that I am holding the Christ-light for the friend I spoke of in the night-time of her fear.
In the Prayers of the People we pray for the sick and the suffering . . . the oppressed . . . the prisoners and captives. Sometimes we realize that we have been praying for ourselves and others taken hostage to fear.
Then we read Psalm 105. In it is this phrase: “The Lord made his people exceeding fruitful; he made them stronger than their enemies.” There are times of suffering, when a child of God is caught under the hand of the oppressor. Yet, there often comes a moment when that person is free to move beyond her constraints. To do something new, to take even a small step, will demand courage and imagination.
In the sermon, Father Mark Smith told us of his friend who “believes that fear . . . is always an enemy of the gospel and whenever he feels it he knows he is in the right place, because he believes that fear should never go unchallenged.” Father Mark’s friend is habitually challenging fear as he listens to prisoners on death row.
In "Poets, Imagination, the Mother Tongue, and Religious Language--Paschal Imagination" a chapter in Against an Infinite Horizon (150) Ronald Rolheiser says, "Imagination is the power to create the images we need to understand and respond to what we are experiencing. We lack imagination when we stand before our own experience petrified, frozen and unable to accept or cope with what is there; or, when we stand before it stunned, benignly unaware that forces are about to destroy us. We have healthy imaginations when we can stand before any reality and have a sense of what God is asking of us. A healthy imagination is the opposite of resignation, abdication, naive optimism or despair. It is the foundation of hope. Through it we turn fate to destiny."
Someone is holding the Christ-light for us, praying for us in our suffering. May we be made exceedingly fruitful, challenging fear and imagine new ways to respond to what we are experiencing.
Below are the feet of St. Luke seen in a window of Trinity Episcopal Church, in Staunton, Virginia. May the healing graces of St. Luke, the physician, flow among us week by week as we listen for the peace we long to hear.