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The Word on the Week

I am not afraid

The refrain, taken up by the crowd following the carnage created by the terrorist’s truck ploughing its way through Barcelona, had a note of defiance which may have masked the truth. “No tine por” Catalan for “I am not afraid” may have been more of an aspiration as many had taken refuge in the buildings on the Ramblas in fear for their lives.
After killing 13 people and injuring over 100 the truck was abandoned on top of the famous Joan Miró ground level mosaic designed to welcome outsiders from all nations to the great city. Perhaps it was a random gesture by the driver although the fact that he escaped would suggest that the terminal point of the horrific journey was planned to facilitate his getaway.
Fear must have featured in the terrorist’s hideout when some of the gas cylinders, to be used in bomb-making, prematurely exploded. The explosion alerted the police to the location which was previously unknown and the dead body of one of the gang was found in the rubble of the partially collapsed building.
After the explosion the cell may have activated their plan B which resorted to the low technical tactic of driving vehicles at people.
A second attack took place in the neighbouring town of Cambrils. Five men in an Audi drove through the town hitting pedestrians. It was 1.00 am on Friday morning. The police intercept the car and shoot dead its occupants. Some of the dead were wearing suicide vests to instil fear in the police. These turned out to be fake.

If you had no Bible there is plenty to be afraid of, plenty of situations to fear. David records similar events in the Psalms. He writes or rather sings about the folly of fear when believers have God to protect them – “They were overwhelmed with dread when there was nothing to dread” (Psalm 53 verse 5).
David also sings about the security which he found in his faith. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? He then sings of the House of the Lord as the place where he feels secure, a place of relationship where he could gaze on the face of the Lord all the days of his life (Psalm 27 verse 1 – 6).
This longing is something which many would love to satisfy in these troubled times. St Paul was able to recognise that we, the believer in Jesus, are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and subject to God’s protection (1 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 16/17).
St Paul had been in prison in Philippi. He had plenty of memories of hard times in the city. What is absent from his writings is any sign of fear. He didn’t sing “I am not afraid” but as he was able to write, as David before him that his security was in the Lord.
“For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ” (Philippians Chapter 3 verses 8/9).