Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Fear of the Lord

In the two Psalms and the Canticle of Morning Prayer today (Wednesday of Week 1) there is the theme of "the fear of the Lord." This is a prominent theme in the OT, but not absent in the New (the Hebrews writer says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and then later warns: our God is a consuming fire).

I do not hear this in contemporary Christian proclamation. Of course God is love, but "love" has its very definition in God. When we try to fit God's love into our self-centered and sentimental expectations we distort God and set ourselves up for disillusionment and denial.

Jesus shows us the love of God. Yes, out of love He died for our sins.... but at the same time His very death shows us how God responds to sin. And so, from today's readings:

Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart.
There is no fear of God before his eyes. (Psa 36)

For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear,
great king over the earth. (Psa 47)

But to those who fear you,
you are very merciful. (Judith 16)

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