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Do not be afraid.

Updated: May 13, 2019

Growing up in an old, Victorian home in North Central Indiana, I always remember feeling so frightened by our basement. The basement was semi-finished and was built primarily to house the old heating system as well as provide a makeshift shower for the male-bread winner who, I imagine in older times, would be forced by his wife to shower and clean up from a long day at work before even thinking about coming upstairs. I always remember the smooth surface of our basement reflecting the street lights from outside. To a young, impressionable mind, the lights appeared as eyes of mysterious figures looming behind you as you made your way up the creaky, old wood steps.

I used to be so frightened by this dark basement that, if I ever had to go down there for any reason, I would convince my younger brother or sister to accompany me down there just in case some creature or burglar was hiding down there, just waiting to grab me and pull me down the steps.

One afternoon, maybe in the evening, my father took me downstairs to show me there was nothing to worry about. I must have been 5 or 6 at the time. We went down the basement together. When we reached the bottom of the steps. He turned the lights off. I remember shaking and maybe even crying for my father to turn the lights back on. No, he said. "There's nothing to be scared of. I'm here." I remember him holding me tight to show that indeed, there wasn't anything to be afraid of.

That was over 20 years ago and I still remember feeling the presence of my father holding me in that darkness, telling me that it's all going to be alright.

"Do not be afraid" Jesus tells us today. "For it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." In other words, it brings God joy for us to inherit Eternal Life.

Our worries about what to eat, what to own, what to wear, what to do are in the eyes of God so infinitely minor just as worrying about monsters in the basement. We've made these concerns so much apart of our daily lives that we trust more in ourselves and our own mental prowess than in the infinite majesty and power of God.

Thank God for Jesus Christ who shines the light of Truth on the shadows of our deceptions.

Thank God for Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of the Father who teaches us most perfectly how love and to accept love.

Thank God for holy men and women like St. Francis who had the courage to so easily accept the words of the Gospel and do their best best to live it out.

Thank God for the times in our own lives when we have been able to bear the cross of Christ, or by our example, have led other to encounter God in their lives.

May we, who will try our best to hear the movement of God in us and in our lives today, may we live without fear and strive for our unfailing treasure awaiting us in Heaven.



St. Luke's Episcopal Church

Woodland, CA

November 17, 2018

First Reading: Micah 6:6-8

Psalm: 100: 1-3

Second Reading: Galatians 6:14-18

Gospel: Luke 12: 22-34


Brother James Nathaniel can be contacted at


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