Soundings

Want to learn more from different perspectives about our lessons? Soundings is a an opportunity for our Clergy to provide different insights into our readings and scripture. You may not always agree with the Clergy's interpretations. But that is why Soundings was created. To invite thoughtful discussion. You are welcome to email the author of each article to provide your comments. Welcome to Soundings!

There is No Fear in Love

By Father David Fisher

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John writes that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear”.

  • Absence of fear can be a reflection of innocence; of not knowing about potential risks or dangers.
  • Being fearless can also mean being foolish, willing to take unnecessary risks.
  • Too much fear can reduce those gripped by it into immobility.

So what fear does perfect love cast out?

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Cast Down Sheep

By Father David Fisher

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Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd.”

The life of a shepherd in the ancient world was dirty, hard, and dangerous. Their work placed them on the margins of society. They were often youngest sons, unlikely to inherit land or livestock. So imagining God as a shepherd places Him among those whose significance society disregards.

And what about sheep? An article in Psychology Today reports findings from a study of sheep, challenging stereotypes of them as docile, obedient, and possessing little individuality: Sheep do care about their own lives and how they are treated and respond to similar situations in similar ways to humans. Nothing we’ve learned about sheep gives us a free pass to mistreat them based on myths about their “mindlessness.” They are intelligent, complex, and feeling individuals.

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What does it mean to be a beloved child of God today? Two stories:

By Father David Fisher

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Several years ago, a young mom told KP Yohannan about her prenatal appointment. Her doctor had finished the ultrasound and turned toward her. “You have a good baby,” he had said with a smile, and she felt relief. “You have a good baby,” he had repeated. She nodded gratefully, knowing there is so much that can go wrong as an unborn baby is formed.

Months later, she gave birth to a son—and she realized what the doctor had been trying to tell her. He wasn’t speaking to the health of organs or the presence of limbs or the absence of malformation: He was trying to communicate that her child was a boy. In her country it is illegal for a doctor to indicate the gender of an unborn child. To do so jeopardizes the most vulnerable, and “it’s a girl” often becomes a death sentence followed by abortion.

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Two Paintings

By Father David Fisher

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Frank Kermode writes that “the truly important point about the emphasis on seeing is the difference between seeing him in his resurrected state, (as the disciples have done), and just hearing about him, which is all anybody else can hope to do; so that believers who have not seen but only heard are especially praiseworthy and are therefore called blessed. This is a fitting end to a gospel, for gospels can proclaim but cannot show the good news.” But then Kermode goes on to raise another point worth a pause: how do we – or should we - imagine the scene described by John? There is a standard, expected answer – which is wrong. Now view two paintings. The first is by Caravaggio, painted around 1601. The painting shows Thomas’s finger -guided by Jesus - as touching; penetrating the wound in His side. What do you see?

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Easter Wings

By Father David Fisher

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Easter Wings

By George Herbert

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poore:
With thee
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

Read more: Easter Wings