What are you doing here?
What did you learn about being afraid when you were a child? Did you learn that someone would always come to find you and make you safe? Or did you learn that you were all alone, that the only person you could count on is yourself? Did you learn that it’s okay to express your fear, or did you learn that crying would only make things worse?
This week’s readings take us into the heart of fear. Elijah hides in a cave. The faithful in Rome hesitate in the face of rejection, shame, and persecution. The disciples tremble at the unexpected. Until God visits, until the saint provides encouragement and wisdom, until Christ reveals his face. Amidst the anxiety, fear, confusion, and despair, we witness the fearful faithful being shown the way back into the fullness of God’s love. There’s no loyalty test, no proving ground, no judgment declaring them unfit to bear the Gospel or unworthy of God’s love.
So take heart whenever you feel lost, whenever you feel unprepared, whenever you feel battered and hopeless. When God comes and asks “What are you doing here?” it’s not with the teacher voice and it’s not with the voice of condescension, disappointment, or shame. It’s not the voice of someone who’s come to drag us out and give us a lesson in tough love. The question comes from the one who made you out of an abundance of love and joy. It comes with the voice of divine love, the sound that breaks the loneliness, abandonment, and fear to draw us to remember. Remember that we are noticed, accepted, and cared for by a God whose love is immeasurable, incomprehensible, and inexhaustible.
Truly, that is wonderful news and something worth celebrating. How can you do that today?
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