Sunday 2 March 2014

Epiphany 8 Last before Lent, Matthew 6:24-34, Follow God and dont worry!

My dad was a worrier. And so he loved this passage in the gospels and though he was not a believer he could quote it verbatum. It had helped him through some tough times. He passed on to me the ability to be anxious and the importance of resting on this passage at the difficult times in your life. The early church in Jerusalem did actually attempt a literal application of this passage, an early form of communism some might say! But it was not continued though it was latter taken up by ascetics like St Francis and is a fundamental Christian theology. However people like to wriggle out of any literal translation!
There is a direct link with the Lords Prayer "give us today our daily bread", give us the food we need for our journey today. It is in stark contrast to the materialistic possession and money centred world we live in.

hazel catkin close up
Verses 27 and 34 are both independent sayings of Jesus, probably Palestinian proverbs and part of the Aramaic oral tradition of the gospel prior to its formalisation. 

Jesus does not want us to store up treasure on earth! Dont worry or be anxious! What a word for today!
Dont worry about your life (or soul) or about what you will eat, or your clothing, or your life (the word life means your soul, inner life, being).

Instead look at the birds (who are busy but dont worry!
Then this independent saying "People cannot change what God has destined for them". Almost fatalism.
Worrying cant make you live longer. In fact we know it could shorten your life so its good advise. But in fact the translation should probably read make you taller! Worrying cant make you taller.

Look at the wild flowers around you! They are more beautiful than anything rich people like King Soloman had.

And the grass that grows up everywhere even after the rains we've had, but is cut and thrown away. Here it is thrown into something like a wood fired clay, pizza oven.

"You of little faith" is an expression used by Matthew. Dont follow the pagans or unbelievers who are "feverish prayer life, constantly agitating for health, wealth and happiness. We are called to stand apart and have a completely different attitude to life.

So dont worry. 
Make up your mind to stop worrying! 
A concious decision.
Instead first seek to build God's kingdom and righteousness
and Gods blessings, including food and clothing will follow, like a promise.

The next independent saying concludes the passage; 

Take life a day at a time. 
Again it has the hallmarks of an Aramaic saying. So, we should focus on the problems we have today and leave tomorrow's problems for tomorrow. How often do we plan for a future that never comes?
So dont worry about tomorrow. Let it take care of itself.
Because there's sufficient trouble in today!



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