Good morning! Today’s Lenten devotional comes to us from Dr. Harry Parker. Dr. Parker has been a Professor of Theatre since joining the faculty at TCU in 2003. He also served as the Chair of the Department of Theatre for 18 years (2003-2021), and as the Founding Managing Director of the Trinity Shakespeare Festival, which was hosted at TCU for 10 years (2009-2018). In addition to his incredible professional achievements, Harry is one of the most welcoming, inclusive, loving, and kind-hearted people I know, and I am grateful to God to call him friend. I hope you enjoy today’s devotional!
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
Scripture is full of the admonition “Fear not!” or in more contemporary language “Do not be afraid!” It’s sprinkled throughout the Bible, in the words of the prophets, the Psalmists, and often from Jesus himself. It’s almost always the greeting from the earthly appearance of an angel, and, well, that makes sense, doesn’t it?
I guess there’s a lot to be afraid of in this world, and it’s human nature to succumb to the fears and the pressures that surround us. While Jesus had a lot of followers, he made a lot of enemies as well; but his ministry was encased with a sense of fearlessness, even when he was bucking the status quo. There’s a song called “Everybody Says Don’t” which was written by Stephen Sondheim in 1964 for his musical Anyone Can Whistle. It has always somehow reminded me of this fearless quality of Jesus, and of his wish for all of his followers that we could be free from fear also. Here are some of the lyrics that evoke this for me:
Everybody says don’t.
Everybody says can’t.
Everybody says wait around for miracles,
That’s the way the world is made.
I insist on miracles, if you do them!
Miracles – nothing to them!
I say don’t –
Don’t be afraid!
Lent has always been a season for me of trying to rekindle the fearlessness in myself that Jesus showed in his ministry, in his teaching, and in his faithful obedience during the final days leading up to his crucifixion. Our lives are filled with countless opportunities to worry, and to be afraid. But we have nothing to fear; we can face the days ahead with confidence.
Let us pray.
Creator God, save us from the temptation of excessive worrying.
Fill us with the courage and peace and joy that comes from understanding how much you love us. Amen.