December 13th 2015
Which house will you choose?
"He...will guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:79
There is a lot of fear going around these days. Peaceful Parisians are gunned down while dining with friends. A plane of unsuspecting tourists explodes in the air. A Christmas party for coworkers ends in carnage. Fear is real, and it's easy to let it control us.
The late Catholic writer Henri Nouwan once wrote that there are two houses in which people can dwell: the house of fear or the house of love. This metaphor can guide for our decision making and thinking: Will our decisions be based on fear or love? According to Nouwan, we need to continually challenge our fears, not allowing them to define and control us. We need to live in the house of love.
When founding UrbanPromise 28 years ago with a small group of college volunteers, people asked me: "Aren't you afraid? Camden is the most dangerous city in America!" At that moment, our little community had to choose the house in which we were going to dwell. Sure, there were fears, but would those fears define us? Would we face the negative statistics, the stereotypes, the economic outlook through a lens of fear, or a lens of love? We chose love, because love ultimately brings life, healing, unity, and peace. And that's exactly what we've seen over the years at UrbanPromise.
Within the Christian tradition, Advent is a time to prepare to meet God's greatest gift of love to the world. A gift that promises peace. Jesus came into a real world—a world where fear was rampant. Yet Jesus, the Prince of Peace, chose to dwell in the house of love. It shaped the way he saw people, where he traveled, and ultimately, the way he responded to those who feared him. His path was and is always the way of love.
We might ponder these questions during this Advent season:
- How do my fears limit me?
- Am I living in the house of fear or the house of love?
- What is one way I can challenge my fears today?