Let’s Give up Fear and Replace it with Love this Easter

Spring is resurrection season
Two blue butterflies facing each other while perched on dandelions. Image courtesy of Ronny Overhate via Pixabay.

Religions that teach fear and hatred are not bringing Divine Love into the world.


Happy Easter! Yes, it is still Easter and there is plenty of time to celebrate the new life that is emerging all around. Perhaps you’ve experienced resurrection in your life, noticed it in someone else’s, or you’ve been watching the reluctant sprouting of spring. Have you taken a moment to give thanks?

It’s also possible that Easter seems out of reach this year. As Erika and I drove to and from New Orleans, I was unsettled by the number of fear-based churches. The signs and billboards on the highways that declared Jesus’ saving powers and the urgency of the need for salvation were abundant. These were interspersed with signs against women’s reproductive rights. I have no doubt that anti-queer and anti-trans preaching pervades these churches as well.

So much fear! Fear in our churches and fear in our streets. Fear that easily slides into hatred and violence. Fear that allows a man to shoot a boy for ringing the wrong doorbell. Fear that allows another man to shoot cheerleaders for getting into the wrong car. Fear that keeps us divided one from another. Fear that keeps us from experiencing the full power of Resurrection.

Religions that teach fear and hatred are not bringing Divine Love into the world. We do not need to fear God for any reason. God’s love is unconditional. We are saved from ourselves and our need to be better than everyone else when we accept God’s love for the whole of Creation, including our own selves. There is no need to pass judgment on another human being for who they are. God doesn’t. We shouldn’t.

Yes, the world is a scary place. People whose lives are defined by fear can also be scary. We don’t need to take foolish risks, yet we do need to take some risks. How can we be a community of Love such that all who visit experience Resurrection, or at least get a glimpse of it? How can we not participate in the fear that is pervasive?

We can reject the fear and violence of the world around us and respond with Love and mercy. Of course we will not always be successful. There will be times when we are also overwhelmed and give into fear. However, there is grace and forgiveness, and the Spirit urging us to continue in our efforts to bring Love into the world.

Take a few minutes this week to breathe deeply and notice the evidence of resurrection all around. Breathe deeply and give thanks. Breathe deeply and let go of a little bit of fear. Breathe deeply and know that you are loved. Breathe deeply and know that you are not alone. Breathe deeply.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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6 thoughts on “Let’s Give up Fear and Replace it with Love this Easter”

  1. That is such a good message: Breathe, Don’t live in fear, Be open to the good things all around, Be thankful. Those sound like hard things to do, but they’re not. They’re much simpler than living in fear and worry. Thank you, Pastor Rachael.

  2. Today I was talking with someone about how fear of relationships often starts in our early years of life and attachment issues.

    I wonder how much of our fear of Loving others with God’s love is based on our early experiences of judgement and condemnation in the church,

    How can we help each other heal? How can we help our young (and older) people to have different experiences with God’s love?

    • Sandy, you pose great questions. I am curious what others would say. I think Living Table is a place that offers different messaging. How do we invite people into the experience is an on-going question for me.

  3. When I’m at work I always ask how someone is. Simple questions like- “How is your day going?” The responses help me to understand where someone is at when treating them. What I’ve seen more lately is how much a long sigh can tell me. People are tired. Tired of so many different things- their lives, the world, the weather, the news…
    The joy of Easter is long gone, far from their memory.
    How do we, as Easter people, lift others up in these heavy,yet extraordinary times we are living in?

    • Jill, you raise a great question. The answer isn’t simple or obvious, though I am certain it has to do with community. How do we offer life-giving community to those around us?


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