We extend our thanks to Brendan Armitage for offering this week’s devotion.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”1 John 4:18
It was a recipe for a Sicilian-style pizza. It had come out really well the first time I had made it, but after that it was just always wrong, and I didn’t know why.
When you cook NY-style thin-crust pizza from scratch, you use the broiler (the heating element in the top of the oven), with a preheated pizza stone or steel on the bottom. That way, the top and the bottom cook at the same time and 2 minutes later, out comes your perfect NY-style thin-crust pie. And so when my brain thought “pizza”, my brain turned on the broiler, and I kept eating burnt cheese with a soggy crust.
If I had only truly “read” the recipe…because the recipe clearly stated that Sicilian-style pizza was to be baked, (when the oven uses the heating element on the bottom) not broiled. Yesterday of course, when I actually baked the pizza, my pie emerged from the oven just as gooey and crispy/chewy as it was supposed to be.
Baked; not broiled.
How often do we, in our busy-ness, look back at the recipe, the instruction manual, the YouTube video, to see if we really got it right? How often do we check the instructions on the 3rd set of shelves we installed from that BigBox store, to see if we really did the install correctly? (Why were there 5 screws left over?) How often do we choose to “fear” what is around us, even when our Bible calls us to “love”?
I had re-read that recipe for my Sicilian-style pizza several times over the years but, in my hubris, I “knew” that the way to cook pizza was with the broiler and so, in my mind, I always transposed the word “baked” in the recipe, to “broiled”. Is it possible that, even as many times as we may have read our Bibles, that we’ve not only “missed” a few words, but that we’ve also changed or transposed a few stories, a few analogies, so that even though the Bible says “love”, we’re sure it read “fear”?
So today, take a moment to pray for fresh eyes as you go about your day, as you watch the news on TV or read it in the LNP, as you skim your FaceBook or your Insta. Be wary of anyone calling on you to “fear”. Replace that word “fear” with “love”. Pray for the understanding that God loves you, has a plan for you, has already taken care of you even in this, our unfathomable world. God loves us all. We have nothing to fear as Lutheran Christians, as unworthy servants, as children of God. It’s in our Bible.
Love; not fear.
See you in church.