Is it possible to change FEAR to LOVE? Fear, feat, neat, nest, lest, lost, lose, love. OK, they’re just words, not the real thing. But by making small changes – just one step at a time – it is possible.

Fear is nothing new. “Don’t be afraid!” Jesus repeatedly told his followers. Oh, they were afraid, and often. “Peace is what I leave with you,” Jesus told them before his death. “It is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Don’t be worried and upset; don’t be afraid.”

Jesus spent forty days on earth after the resurrection, then went to his Father. Another ten days elapsed before Pentecost – the promised day when the Spirit of Jesus came to the disciples to be their constant companion, helper, and comforter.

Jesus’ message wasn’t a cosy fob-off. He was a realist. He knew only too well what it was to suffer. He knew his followers would be persecuted. No wonder they were afraid – as are many people today. After Jesus’ death, and even during and after his resurrection appearances, the disciples were so afraid they locked themselves in a room together – away from those who were out to get them. Pentecost, celebrated today, is a reassurance of Christ’s continuing powerful, but peaceful, presence in the world. It is that that today’s followers of Jesus can communicate in an uncertain world. Fear: superseded by love.

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