Monday, November 19, 2012

What--Me Worry?

The gospel lesson for Thanksgiving Day (Matthew 6:25-33) is all about worry. Jesus says, "Do not worry about your life--what you will eat or drink or wear. Isn't there more to life than food or clothing?" Funny, Jesus, those aren't the things I worry about.

I worry about my family. Am I around them enough? Am I supportive enough? Do they know how much I love them?

I worry about my friends. Will she recover from that illness? Will he learn to let go of his grief? Will they figure out how to live together and stay married?

I worry about my job. Am I working hard enough? Am I listening for the Spirit's guidance? Am I forgetting something?

I worry about our country. What happens if the economy doesn't turn around? What happens if we do go plunging off the fiscal cliff? Will those we've elected ever figure out how to do what's best for the people of this nation?

Jesus asks us to consider the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. They don't worry, yet God gives them plenty to eat and arrays them in beautiful colors. Well, Jesus, go back to biology class. I've been watching the hummingbirds outside my window, and I can tell you that all they do is eat. All they care about is having enough food to make it long enough to find a mate. And the flowers? There's a reason they're so pretty--it's so that birds and bees will notice them and carry their pollen (genetic material) from one flower to another. If it isn't brightly colored enough, it will get passed over and won't have an opportunity to pass its DNA along to future generations. Sure, flowers don't worry because they're flowers; they can't. But, if they could, they would be worse than a sixth-grade girl: "Am I pretty? Tell me I'm pretty. Do you think the boys will notice me?"

So, let's start over. Flowers? Birds? Clothing? Food? Put all that aside and get back to the point. Don't worry. Let go. How? By realizing that God will take care of everything. Does that mean that everything will have a happy ending? No. Does that mean that your food and clothing will magically descend from the sky? No. But does it mean that even starving, naked people get to go to heaven? Yes, absolutely.

This gospel lesson is about perspectives. Keep the end in mind. Where are we going? To dwell with God for eternity. So does it matter how we get there? Not really. Sure, it's a lot easier if you have food to eat and clothes to wear, but, even if you didn't, the end of the story will be the same. But that means letting go of control and worry about whether I have what I "need" in this life. And that's not easy. But no one said it would be.

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