Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Journey With Matthew - Day 8

"So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today." (Matthew 6:34) 

It's very hard to tell a worrier not to worry. Sometimes it even makes them angry. But Jesus is a bold teacher and in this part of the Sermon on the Mount he offers three imperatives - do not worry, do not worry, do not worry - and two questions - can you by worrying add a single hour to your life? and why do you worry about clothing? 

As preaching, I find that questions generally work better than the imperatives, even from as trustworthy a source as Jesus. Because questions lead us, in fact, to consider and reflect. We worry, often, about the things over which we have zero control. Can any of us, by worrying, add a single hour to our lives? No, but the doctors would tell us that we can subtract hours for sure! A friend of mine says, "worrying works...since 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass anyway!" She's right and the truth is that it's mostly a waste of time and energy.

Even so, it's hard not to worry. Parents worry about their kids, and sometimes kids worry about their parents. We worry about getting into the college of our choice, finding and keeping the job that at some level may feel like a vocation, about healthcare as we age. There is a long list of worries. 

But the wisdom here is ultimately that we have only today - and the worst thing worry does is that it draws us from the sacrament of the present moment. In Biblical faith as in twelve-step programs we get Now - enough for the day. And the rest we have to learn to let go of. Is this easy? Of course not. But is it true? When we see that it is, we are more than halfway there.

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