"... for those who fear ..." (Magnificat series)

50 His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.

Fear. 

I get hung up on the word fear when I read this line. I'm pretty certain as a faithful God-believer that I'm supposed to be hung up on the word mercy.

Fear.

I think of the phrase from Frank Herbert's novel Dune that for a while I had memorized: "I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." (Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear)

Pretty sure I wanted to be a Bene Gesserit when I grew up.  I really need to re-read that series...

In church, I was taught that the word "fear" would be more correctly translated as "great awe". But when angels appear they always start with "Do not be afraid”, you gotta wonder, right?

This one line of the Magnificat is causing me all sorts of trouble. First, the fear thing, and the whole conditional statement. God’s mercy (God’s love, God’s grace) just if you find God frightening (or awe-inspiring). 

Huh. Having written that out, it’s clear that everyone to whom God or an angel appeared would be overwhelmed. We can imagine that, whether we would call it fear or awe. I have felt God’s love, and even unseen, God overwhelms once you’re aware of God’s presence.

God’s mercy/love/grace is thus for all.

Now that we have that little faith dilemma resolved, this verse is a statement of fact. It’s not a future statement, it’s a now statement.


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