Thursday, February 24, 2011

Epiphany 8a - Matthew 6:24-34

I think the degree to which we are able to live these “do not worry” words of Jesus is in direct proportion to how much “trouble is enough" we have to deal with in our today. It is one thing not to worry about your life, clothes, food, drink, or shelter when you have those things; it is quite another when one is facing trouble with a capital T and the light at the end of tunnel is the proverbial freight train. That’s not to say there aren’t those who seem to be able to live through hell without breaking a sweat but for the rest of us worry is a natural response to more than enough trouble for today and a double dose guaranteed for tomorrow. So let’s admit that even though “you of little faith” would seem to indicate more faith means less worry, worry is not something we can simply will away. And dulling the senses with substance abuse or addictive behavior or sleeping all day just adds to the troubles that made us worry in the first place. So what can we do? Rather than focusing on the worry, Jesus’ brother, James, goes right to the trouble. Writing about faith he says, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” (in other words, don’t worry for your heavenly Father knows you need these things) but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:15-16) The apostle Paul writing to the Galatians said it this way, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) The worst kind of worry happens in isolation and most often in the dead of night. Reading the scriptures and praying or listening to meditative music might bring temporary relief but we were not meant to bear worry or trouble alone for very long, if at all. Worries shared are less troublesome and is what God intended the community gathered in the name of Christ to be about. When we strive for the kingdom we see that waiting on God is really God waiting on us and that God’s heart is always expressed through human hands. Come to think of it that’s also true for the sparrows at my bird feeder and the lilies in your garden.

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