Today’s Word, 3/26/2020 from National Council of Churches

Today’s word comes to us from the National Council of churches: Malachi 2:10-16, NRSV

Be Faithful to One Another
10 Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? 11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob anyone who does this—any to witness or answer, or to bring an offering to the Lord of hosts.
13 And this you do as well: You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand.
14 You ask, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was a witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
15 Did not one God make her? Both flesh and spirit are his. And what does the one God desire? Godly offspring. So look to yourselves, and do not let anyone be faithless to the wife of his youth.
16 For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.

Only Love Conquers Fear
By Rev. Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie, Alfred Street Baptist Church; immediate past General Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer of the Progressive National Baptist Convention in Washington, DC

This major health challenge the world is facing has not been seen in generations—perhaps never before! A whole new glossary of terms has been introduced into the global lexicon: Coronavirus, social distancing, self-quarantining, community spread, etc. What began as a viral epidemic only a few months ago has escalated into a global pandemic today, causing unprecedented levels of stress, anxiety, and panic, which officials are now predicting may last for months.

At a recently televised news conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York stated that we are fighting two wars—one against the COVID-19, and the other against FEAR. He went on to assert that our more devastating battle is the one against fear because misinformation and confusion generated by fear cause people to become unreasonable and irrational.

Fear is such a treacherous enemy because it is based upon the unseen, the unknown and/or untrue. A familiar acronym calls fear, “False Evidence Appearing Real.” This is why the Apostle Paul reminded young Timothy that, while fear may be natural, it does not dwell in the Supernatural.

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1: 7, NKJV)

It is interesting to note in this verse that the antithesis of fear is neither faith nor courage. For fear in these especially trying times is normal. The antidote to fear, according to the scripture, is power, love, and sound mind (self-discipline).

From where do we get the power to operate in love against fear? It comes from a faithful God through the discipline of faithful prayer. It comes from a deep desire to love God with heart, mind, and soul, but just as important in this dire moment, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. John, the beloved disciple, put it this way, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18, NRSV)

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