'It is I, be not afraid.'

I had the great pleasure of attending a two day teaching/meditation seminar with John Philip Newell.  As you recall, I have made some brief comments about his latest book, Christ of the Celts.  In one of the sessions, John Philip told a story about a 20th century Celtic teacher from France named Teilhard de Chardin who became a Christian during the first World War.  While caring for the wounded, Chardin heard deep within himself, 'Ego sum, noli timere' ( 'It is I, be not afraid' ).  He knew that it was Christ and his life changed because of the encounter.

Later, during the meditation time, we were to meditate on Isaiah 58.11 'You shall be like a garden, like a deep spring where waters never fail'.  While meditating, I saw light cascading over water.  The water appeared amber in color and the light reflecting on the many waves and ripples were every color imaginable.  As I breathed upward, I kept seeing the image and hearing 'It is I, be not afraid'.

This was significant for me because for the past several years I have inherited a phobia regarding local water -- ponds, rivers. lakes, and streams -- to the point that I would have a panic attack.  The fear -- from what I do not know -- would overtake me and I would become petrified.

This 4th of July weekend we went to visit my Dad in Eufaula.  Eufaula has a huge lake and my Dad has a boat.  Now, I normally don't have a problem with being in the boat so seeing my dad hasn't been an issue.  It's when we beach somewhere and my wife wants to walk along the shore or it's time to shove off again that problems arise.

This year, my plan was to find a secluded spot and slowly make my way into the water all the while repeating Christ's words to me, 'It is I, be not afraid'.  But I didn't get the opportunity.  And furthermore, I didn't have to.  I went out more than waste deep in the water without and issue.  My wife and I were pulled behind the boat in a huge inner-tube with water splashing us and I put my arms in the water as we were being pulled along.  We took our walks and had to wade out into the water to pass from one part of the beach to another.  All without a hint of anxiety.

The vision I saw wasn't something I needed to create in order for it to 'work'.  Christ had removed my anxiety through the vision.

I must be honest.  As I write this, the falseness is right here ready to pounce.  The apprehension is there to make me 'second guess' what I feel.  So, which feeling is true?  The feeling of apprehension?  Or, the feeling that Christ has removed my anxiety?  To quote M. Basilea Schlink from my meditation this morning:

I praise the blood of the Lamb
that has power to free me
from all my bondages...

I praise the blood of the Lamb
that is victorious
over all powers that seek to
oppress me...

I praise the blood of the Lamb
that makes all things new.
Hallelujah! Amen

Peace be with you.



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