Becky West: Understanding overcomes fear

At the Sunday morning service, my church’s lectionary, like hundreds of Christian churches around the world, the Gospel (good news) message from Luke 10:25-37 was “The Good Samaritan.”

Pastor asked “Who are you in the story?” Jesus’s parables had a way of comforting the uncomfortable and making the comfortable uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable because I remember reading Errol Bluhm’s letter to the editor in the July 12 West Central Tribune entitled “Hate, fear and freedom of speech.” I couldn’t not finally respond.

FDR’s quote “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” has been ringing in my ears this week. It is making me uncomfortable. I may not be the Good Samaritan, but my conscience will not allow me to be the priest or Levite either. Maybe I’m only the innkeeper, helping with social justice after injury occurs.

Several other quotes have made me more uncomfortable after today’s sermon: “Let your faith be bigger than your fear;” “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood" – Marie Curie. “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears” – Nelson Mandela. “Fear is just a feeling, get over it”; “Life begins when fear ends”; ” Knowing what must be done does away with fear” – Rosa Parks.

Finally a quote from Kanchan Upadhyay – “Fear only when you have done something wrong.”


Ignoring the injured is wrong. Ignoring chances to meet, talk with and understand “the other” is wrong. Ignoring racist hate speech is wrong.

We are blessed in this community with opportunities to meet and greet “others” – people from different cultures. I’ve had opportunities to share food, laughter, and music with “others.” I’ve learned that putting macaroni into chili is acceptable. I’ve learned that Ramadan reminds me to take my Lutheran faith seriously. I’ve learned that my God loves, and her role model instructs me to do the same.

Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” My neighbors also include “other.” And Jesus’s message “The greatest is love” certainly includes “other.” Understanding overcomes fear.

Becky West

New London

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