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Do Not Be Afraid
Do Not Be Afraid
Responsive Reading

When the angel Gabriel brought to Mary the news that she would give birth to a son, Luke records that “she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” The angel said to Mary,

[response:] Do not be afraid.

When an angel appeared before the shepherds living in the fields, Luke records that they were terrified. But the angel said to them,

Do not be afraid.

When Jesus told Simon and his partners to fish again after a night of no catch, Luke records that “they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.” Their boats began to sink and Simon was frightened, but Jesus said to him,

Do not be afraid.

When preaching to his disciples, Luke records that Jesus told them not to worry so much. For the birds neither sow nor reap and yet are fed; the lilies neither toil nor spin, but are clothed in glory. “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” And so, Jesus told them,

Do not be afraid.

When the disciples were crossing the sea and a storm came up that battered their boat, Mark records that they saw Jesus on the water. “They thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified.” But they heard Jesus say to them,

Do not be afraid.

When Jesus came to Jerusalem for Passover, John records that the people greeted him with palm branches and called to him, “Save us!” The disciples found a donkey for Jesus to ride, as Zechariah had prescribed, saying to Jerusalem,

Do not be afraid.

And when Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph went to the tomb, Matthew records that “there was a great earthquake” and an angel “came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.” The governor’s guards fainted from fear, but the angel said to the women,

Do not be afraid.

In times of change, when we are challenged and our way forward is not clear, it's easy to be frightened. At such times, we need someone to say to us,

Do not be afraid.

When too much is happening too quickly, when we don’t know what we will do next, when it seems that fear is taking over, we need someone to say to us,

Do not be afraid.

But if we are there for one another, we can offer support and encouragement. We can say,

Do not be afraid.

When we stand together to face life’s challenges, we are saying to one another,

Do not be afraid.

For when we are willing to do what is right, and not merely what is comfortable, we declare to the world, we shall not be afraid.

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