“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
What a week it was! To have two such rare events occur within a day of each other. On Tuesday, November 8th, at 5:17 a.m., the entirety of the moon had entered the earth’s umbra, turning it deep red to the human eye, thus creating a total lunar eclipse. The photos reveal a haunting beauty we will not see again until March 14th, 2025. Yet, that was just a warmup for the week’s second rare occurrence, equally stunning in its beauty. In the dark of the night on Wednesday, November 9th, between the minutes of 3:37 a.m. and 3:51 a.m., there were no political campaign commercials being broadcast on cable television. It is said that angel choirs could be faintly heard rejoicing in the heavens. Whether awake or asleep, the entire population of the country was joined in a stunningly exquisite, yet tragically brief, sigh of relief. It is estimated that there won’t be a similar occurrence until the wee hours of November 6th, 2024.
To be honest, I was out running during the latter phase of the lunar eclipse, but my brain wasn’t awake enough to remember to look up. Also, I have no idea whether the second event occurred or not. I just made it up. Unlike the lunar eclipse, such an occurrence could well be too fanciful to be true. The total cost for the 2022 state and federal elections is projected to exceed $16.7 billion. And for what purpose was the biggest chunk of this money spent? The dissemination of manufactured fear. Why is it that political campaigns are so rarely focused on what we can accomplish together, and primarily invested in playing on our basest, and most likely, unsubstantiated fears? Rudyard Kipling said, “Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”
As the Hebrew sojourners prepared to enter the land promised to them by the Lord, Moses entreated them, saying, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
It is ironic that those who seek power in this world, do so by appealing to and trusting in our lowest instincts, whereas the One who actually has authority over all things appeals to and always draws us toward our highest instincts.
While I would disagree with him on many things including the source of peace and hope, I think Bertrand Russell was onto to something when he said, “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” What Russell couldn’t bring himself to say, but what Scripture’s wisdom writers knew to be true, is this, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” As the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Therefore, until that next rare occurrence of a moment free from fear-mongering campaign ads, may it be the peace of Christ that holds you.