Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness. That most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson
I used a portion of the above quote in my sermon this past Sunday because I was fascinated by the way she articulated so beautifully the nature of fear. In the sermon, these words connected the notion that fear, or at least the self-doubt brought about by fear, with the idea that we should live out the transformation we discover in Christ. Practicing Transfiguration, I called it. And this concept is especially appropriate as we enter the season of lent. Lent is all about change; being transformed; transfigured. Lent is about turning things around. It’s about realizing our shortcomings and finding a way overcome them. Lent is about rediscovering and refreshing our relationship with the Divine and then living into that relationship by loving and serving the poor, outcast, and the refugee.
Beyond the transformation that lent requires, however, the times we live in are also demanding change. Global climate change threatens to destroy our beautiful earthly home necessitating we change the way we produce energy. The shouts of hate and division seem to be louder than the voices of justice, challenging us to summon the courage to speak up. There are terrorist threats and acts of violence every day that are beyond our control. And these are just a few examples. There are so many things to worry about and so many trials that can lead us to a place of fear.
But here’s the thing. If we allow fear to extinguish the light of our being, we cannot shine. If we allow fear to keep us from sharing God’s love across the street and spreading God’s justice across the globe, then fear has won the day. As Marianne Williamson said, “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.” And that’s the task of the Church. We are to be about the restoration and healing of individuals and of nations. We are to be a source of light to those shrouded in darkness. Whether that darkness is physical or psychological or spiritual. As the church, we are finally to shine forth the liberating light of God so that others may also discover, burning within their being, that same light.
In the days and weeks and months to come, may the Light of the Divine continue to burn brightly within and beyond your soul, and may your faith prevail over any fear this world can throw at you.