In the Celtic Prayer book of the Northumbrian Community, there is an odd couplet from the Hebridean Altars:
Though we prospered little,
yet we were rich in faith and unfearingness
Sometimes the clumsiness of a word gives it a jarring aptitude. Fear is a destabilising word, and an undermining experience. Fearingness is that fear made chronic, a state of apprehensive mind, a continuing anxiety suspicious of reassurance. Unfearingness is the opposite of each of these. Not chronic fear but inner constancy of peace; not an apprehensive mind but one comprehending something of the unchanging love of God in Christ; not suspicious anxiety but confidence born of trust and persuaded that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Unfearingness is what Jesus tried to make the disciples experience when he said to them "Fear not for I have overcome the world". Unfearingness is what isaiah described when he said "When you walk through fire the flames will not harm you, and through the waters the waves shall not overwhelm you." Unfearingness is precisely what is described in Psalm 23, lying down by still waters, led in a pth of righteousness, and goodness and mercy dogging our footsteps every blessed mile we trek.
Unfearingness is to listen to the wisdom of those ancient travellers who were pilgrims to Jerusalem, and who wrote their poems and prayers to the God who, they hoped and trusted, would keep them safe. "The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night..." The photo was taken on a February evening, frosty, silent and I have to confess not the slightest bit menacing. But then I wasn't trekking hundreds of miles across desert and bandit country, and doing so, not for trade and profit, but to go and worship the God by whose mercy I lived, and in whose covenant love I trusted come hell or high water. What I like about the Psalms is their honesty and unashamed admissions of fear, anger, depression, anxiety - the whole gamut of fearingness - but still, like needles drawn to the magnetic north, they turn to the Lord, in hope and trust, and pray for unfearingness.
This is a word I want to think about for a while - linguistically clumsy, but spiritually and theologically a word bespoke for the heart.