Sunday, March 6, 2011

Epiphany 8A

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.

A beloved is rushed by ambulance to the hospital.

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

In an unfamiliar town the car breaks down.

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

The checking account is overdrawn by $300.

Are you not of more value than they?

A cancer diagnosis.

And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?

Waking up to the sound of tornado sirens.

And why do you worry about clothing?

A bad report card or in school suspension.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.

A child who suddenly withdraws from you.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-- you of little faith?

Your hours changed at work creating difficulty with child care.

Therefore do not worry, saying, `What will we eat?' or `What will we drink?' or `What will we wear?'

A parent who no longer recognizes you when you visit.

For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

The economy having a negative impact on your customer base.

But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Feeling like God has left you far behind in these times of doubt, fear, uncertainty, and unknowing.

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.

Really God?  Really?  Where are you right now?

Today's trouble is enough for today.

Where God?  Where?

I can’t see you, feel you, touch you, but I need you right now.  Breathe your peace into my heart.  Show me you are here, that you are real, that you are with me.  I want to trust these words, to hold on to them. 

Yet all around me the world is falling apart.  Administrations, public and private, making it difficult for hard working people to make ends meet.  War in other lands.  Technology I can’t keep up with.  Natural disasters that happen faster than we can respond.  People I love leaving by moving, or death, or just plain distance.  Families broken.  Lives shattered by addiction.  Violence on school playgrounds.  Shootings in parks.

Where God?  Where?

Show me…

The smile of the tired grocery clerk.  The thank you from the waitress.  The young child who shares a work of art.  Is it there God?

The diagnosis is not as serious as first thought.  A new friend fixes the car problem.  An unexpected check comes to cover the overdraft.  The cancer is operable.  The siren ends with no damage.  Is it there God?

Tutoring becomes the chance to reconnect.  The child care center extends hours.  During the latest visit, the smile on your mom’s face brightens the lack of knowing.  Business begins to pick up.  Is it there God?

The feeling of peace that flows down out of nowhere.  Is it there God?

Yes my child, it is there.  It is in each place of darkness, each place of brokenness, each moment of doubt.  I am there.  I am with you.  Closer than your next breath.  I have promised to never leave you or forsake you. 

It is there that I am with you.  In each place of joy, each new discovery, each moment of peace, I am there.  I am with you.  Closer than the next blink of an eye.  I have made a covenant with you.
My child, you are my beloved.  Even when all around you is broken, lost, and dark, you still have me.  No one and nothing can take you from me.  You are my child.  I love you fully, completely, and forever.  Nothing will change that. Ever.  Nothing you can do will change that.  Nothing done to you will change that. 

My child, I made you for myself.
I made you like myself
I delight in you.
My heart aches with pity
When you smother joy under the onslaught of busyness
Then there is barely a minute
To pause and listen for me

You run everywhere looking for life
Searching for the life of life
All the while I am here
I am as close as a prayer.
I am breathing your breath.

You look for me in the pleasures of life.
Things pile upon things.
Experiences crowd out experiences,
Places run together in a hazy blur,
And still you don’t find that one thing that will satisfy you.
But I am here.
I am as close as a prayer.
I am breathing in your breath.
I made you for myself,
I wanted you,
I made you like myself,
I made you good and I made you free.

Listen!  For I have carved in you the heart to hear.
Listen and know that I am near.
I am as close as a prayer.
I am breathing in your breath.

Before you speak the word of worry or worship I hear you
Before you sing your delight or moan your anguish I speak.
I am here.
I am as close as a prayer.
I am breathing in your breath.

With each breath I choose life for you.
I paint the pattern of joy in your heart and leave it there for you to find.
I build the flame of your flourishing in the center of your being and call you to search it out.
I kindled the spark of goodness in you.
With each breath I fan the flame.
I am here.

I am as close as a prayer.
I am breathing in your breath.

With each breath you choose, my child, for you are free.
Will you breathe with me the breath of life?
Will you claim the joy I have prepared for you?
Will you seek me out and find me here?
Will you whisper the prayer?
Will you breathe in my breath?   (From Made for Goodness)

Do not worry….I am here.

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