When I study in Italy, this man is my music teacher. I could not be luckier — attending his lessons is worth the cost of the trip to Italy and then some. (Yes, his last name does mean ‘sp*ders,’ the creatures of which I am so afraid I cannot even write out the word. This tells you how marvelous he is — normally I could not sit in the same room with someone so named. But he is worth it.) Please enjoy this clip in which he discusses Lutheran music, the Reformation, Bach, and in which he uses my absolute favourite hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God, as a point of discussion.
…is fear itself. Of course, when FDR said that, there was plenty to fear. But that’s neither here nor there. His greater point was a worthy one. I thought of it while reading this nifty sermon. Have no idea what church this is — judging from a number of things, likely a hippy-dippy, new-agey, ‘inclusive’ congregation. Heck, the minister calls herself the ‘Sarcastic Lutheran.’ (My twin?) Nothing wrong with that. And nothing wrong with this message.
See, I think when God and God’s messengers say over and over be not afraid it’s because, people of God, fear just isn’t good for our hearts. If, as Paul says, Perfect love casts out fear, then perhaps we could say that fear is the enemy of love. All I know is that fear steals things – it is a thief of love, and joy and generosity for starters. Fear even takes things away while convincing us that it is actually protecting us. Fear makes me feel less safe and feeling less safe is not the same as protecting me. And fear steals these things because fear convinces us that it is more real that what is actually happening. The only time fear isn’t a liar is when you are actually about to be attacked by a bear or asked to do the chicken dance at a wedding or some other imminent threat.
Take that, fear. You have plagued me so! But I’m onto you and your ways.
Today is Reformation Day. It is also the third anniversary of my brother Alan’s death. I will post more about him tomorrow, but I wanted to make a reference to this day and to this hymn — in my opinion one of the most magnificent — because on the day he died, I had posted this same hymn and a reference to the Reformation on my Facebook page. This was before I knew Alan was gone and I remember clearly that the fact that he was not commenting on the post gave me a sick feeling. I knew something was wrong because it was the sort of topic upon which he would usually offer a witty or brilliant observation.