By Ted Furlow
The applause died down and the curtain closed, but I just sat staring. My wife tugged at my sleeve and urged me to “get a move on.” She wanted to go backstage to see our daughter-in-law and congratulate her on the successful recital of her dance school, but my mind was on the last act.
That last act, “Bunnies in the Storm,” is her signature piece for little girls. It is a derivative of a kindergarten activity, adapted for dance. Little girls in fluffy costumes dance around older girls who are waving an enormous parachute-like piece of silk fabric up and down to the beat of the music. In the beginning, the music is placid and dreamy, with the little girls moving languidly to the rhythms. Then the music and the dancing picks up, rising to a crescendo, the lights flash off and on, the room goes dark, and the girls – frightened little bunnies caught in a storm - screech and howl loudly and then seek shelter under the fabric.
It gave me pause to think of the adage that we reap what we sow, and when we sow fear we reap a wild wind. It is the wind that blows the fabric under which we hide. Today, talking not about what is but what might be, fear is sown by those who would control our life, plan our political destiny, hold hostage our salvation, or shape our ideology. It is 2015 and American society, like the bunnies in the storm, stands under the fabric of fear.
Since 9/11, our confidence has suffered under the burden of that fear. The cacophony of immigration is driven by that fear. The shameless condemnation, under the guise of religion, of those who are different is driven by that fear. The alignment with dubious right wing ideologies which have no foundation in Catholic moral teaching is moved by that fear. That fear is the wild wind that takes us in our ignorance to an intolerance which, as people of the good news of Jesus Christ, should make us blush. In the depths of the Depression of the 1930’s President Franklin Roosevelt reminded us that, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” In these contradictory times we must have that same Rooseveltian confidence about fear. We are Christians, we are not ideologues, and we are not religious totalitarians.
The Christian composer and singer Jeremy Camp puts it this way, “The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, the same power that commands the dead to wake, lives on in us; the same power that moves mountains when he speaks, the same power that calms the raging seas, lives on in us.” This Easter we can choose not to be paralyzed, manipulated, or driven by our fears. Rather we can choose to be supported by the redeeming grace of our baptism. Casting aside the fabric of fear, we can freely stand as one with the mercy, love, and tolerance of our Resurrected Christ.
We are people of faith, not fear. In Him we are one. In Him we shall not be taken. In Him we shall not be overcome.
Our Lord is Risen!
Ted Furlow is Director of Pastoral Planning in the Diocese of San Bernardino.