October 06, 2009

Looking Forward to October 11, 2009 -- Thanksgiving Weekend

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Hebrew Scriptures: Joel 2:21-27
  • Psalm 126 (VU p.850)
  • From the Gospel: Matthew 6:25-33

The Hymns this week are:
  • #236 Now Thank We All Our God
  • #226 For the Beauty of the Earth
  • From the Silence That Has Bound Us (insert)
  • #326 O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

The Sermon title is What? ME Worry?

Early Thoughts: IS Jesus kidding us? Just trust in God to provide and stop worrying???????!!!!!! In the midst of an economic downturn is this a realistic passage to read?

I think this is in fact the best time to read this passage. When people are really worried, and have something to worry about, is a great time to talk about worrying. WHen we are comfortable and sure of our income this passage becomes much more an intellectual exercise. But when we are struggling and wondering who will go under next there is a real resonance.

And of course that is where the original audience was. Jesus is speaking to people who regularly have to worry about where their next meal will come from. Jesus is speaking to people who have less than nothing for the most part. I am sure that more than a couple of them thought he was all wet too.

Most of us have trouble believing that God will just provide what we need. We don't just sit back and rake it all in after all. But I am not sure that is the point of the passage. Or at least that may not be where the story intersects with our lives.

One of the dangers we have in our society is that we too often fall into the trap of believing that what we have we have as a reward for hard work or as an entitlement. These passages remind us that what we have is a gift that is graciously and freely given. One of the dangers of modern society is that we are taught to worry, we are taught that what we need is scarce and we have to ensure we "get our share". These passages remind us that what we have is he result of abundant gifts. These passages call us to reflect on the difference between worrying over the world's scarcity and rejoicing on God's abundance.

And what better message is there on Thanksgiving weekend? If we stop worrying so much we may see the world differently. When we see abundance instead of scarciy it enables us to see what we have to share with the world. It enables us to practice better stewardship. In the end worry is a subset of fear, and fear is the opposite of love. LEt us put aside worry so that we can live in love.

PS: For a message from Mardi Tindal, the new moderator of the United Church of Canada click here

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