Palimpsest - No Fear

No Fear
John 14:23-29

Under certain conditions, the R-brain (reptilian brain - brainstem and cerebellum) wreaks havoc on our thinking and learning. This phenomenon is called downshifting. Our R-brain immediately takes charge when we feel threatened or fearful. It wants only to survive at any cost. We downshift into our R-brain in settings that are unpredictable, disorderly, or threatening. We downshift in situations that lack boundaries and borders, where too many choices are present...In many cases, our downshifting deprives us of joy. It drains us of our aliveness. It prevents us from playing full out with all God’s gifts. It holds us back from the ministries to which God calls us. The shadow of the cross often falls across our choices.Following Jesus usually involves stepping out in faith, taking risks, stretching beyond our comfort zone. If we let our R-brain’s fears hold us back, we never experience the joy of using our spiritual gifts at their full capacity. We never have the deep satisfaction of doing what God created us to do. We deprive ourselves of the transformative learning that sets us free from the past and makes us truly new creations in Christ. – Thomas R. Hawkins, Loving God with All Your Mind

The deed of Gift for the interim is centered on “peace,” the total wellbeing that underlies this Hebrew word of greeting and farewell. It has a meaning specific to Jesus in this Gospel, namely, the overcoming of fear and perturbation with which the chapter opens. Only he can give the gift of peace which is envisioned. Like love, it is a Johannine hallmark of being a disciple of Jesus. – Gerard Sloyan, John

I love the way in which all the angels of scripture, and Jesus himself on occasion, say to people whom they encounter, “Fear not.” At least that is what they say in the King James Version, two simple words that act to obliterate fear, giving the listener the hope that fear’s domination of the human heart is subject to God, after all, and its power can be extinguished. – Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

Your mother told you to play nice. That’s easy when she was your opponent. No fear.
The sky is not the limit, the ground is. So shut up and jump. No fear.
Whoever has the most toys, wins. But dies anyway. No fear.
Fear– the thief of dreams. No fear.
Don’t let your fears stand in the way of your dreams. No fear.
It’s not life that scares me. It’s the sudden stop at the end. No fear.
It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you. No fear.
Fearless by choice, not by chance. No fear.
Absoutely, positively, most definitely, without a doubt. No fear.
Know it. Learn it. Live it. No fear.
– “No Fear” slogans on t-shirts, 1995

  • When do you experience fear that keeps you from thinking clearly? What do you do to clear your mind? What helps you calm down?
  • How can Jesus tell us not to be afraid? How does Jesus help us when we are afraid?

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