There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
On Thursday, I volunteered for open hours at WriterHouse and grocery shopped on the way home—as usual. Given the news, I wasn’t surprised to see more vehicles than usual in Wegman’s parking lot. Upon entering the building, I honored the store’s policy and sanitized my hands.
Then I consulted my grocery list: salad fixings, corned beef (for St. Patrick’s Day), cabbage, carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, dark bread, cheddar cheese, ham (for sandwiches and over salad), fresh veggies, milk, dryer sheets and iodized salt—I’d just opened my backups.
I was gratified to see lots of fresh produce, though potatoes and sweet potatoes were a little picked over. It wasn’t until I rolled down the baking goods’ aisle to pick up salt that I saw an empty shelf. Only a few sacks of flour remained.
I thought about grabbing a sack for myself then remembered: there is no fear in love. We didn’t need flour.
Nor toilet paper.
Like many schools and churches across the United States, ours Bethany Lutheran Church and Early Childhood Education Center decided to close for two weeks, or until further notice. In his letter to the congregation, Pastor Tim Bohlmann made the following points:
- We live by faith, in the love God has for us through His son, and not in fear.
- Our faith is our witness; we take care of neighbors and don’t endanger them.
- Our witness expresses faithfulness; we obey authorities as long as they do not ask us to disobey God.
Information will be posted on the church website, Pastor noted. Regular services will be live-streamed at 11am on Sundays and Lenten devotionals on Wednesday at 10am. Sacrificial, first-fruits giving is available online, too.
Yesterday morning, Keith and I watched the church service online again—we’d stayed home last week, too, since I had a head cold. Last week, Pastor’s message had been about the parable of the talents, and this week, the related parable of the bags of gold from Matthew 25:14-30.
God asks us to manage the gifts He’s given us for His glory, but we don’t do that well, Pastor said. We’re greedy and self-centered and fearful, burying our gifts rather than sharing them.
I thought about my temptation to hoard, when it’s clear we have enough. Then I thought about how I can share my gifts and blessings in love, to take care of neighbors and obey authorities, primarily God.
Everyone makes their own prayerful decisions, and I don’t expect theirs to be the same as mine. No punishment, but one thing’s for sure. We’ll all in this together.
This post on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTb-TFRNHZk&feature=youtu.be