Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life
By: Rev. Elivered Nasambu Mulongo
What is thanksgiving in a world with extreme injustice, poverty, sickness and hunger? We see people loosing jobs every day and those who really struggle to make ends meet. We read and watch videos/TV and all we see are news of earthquakes, floods and violence. As the Fall and Winter begin, we are so afraid of the H1N1 and other types of flu that have killed 76 children in the US already. We wonder if this could be another pandemic like that of 1918.
On this Thanksgiving Day, we are equally bogged down by feelings of, What am I thankful to God for? I am the same way I was last year. My pain has not decreased; my financial situation has not improved. Will I ever be able to accomplish anything? We doubt our own success, and question our abilities to be. We feel bogged down by difficult relationships and wonder why someone we know represents no good in our eyes. We think life’s options for us are fewer and worry about worsening relationships. So we ask, does God really care?
The reality is that these circumstances sound familiar with the environment that Jesus spoke to on the Sermon on the Mount to which he offered advice, Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. It was in these similar circumstances that I picture Jesus preaching and teaching about the significance of not worrying too much. I see the generation of Jesus’ followers as a very mixed group, the poor, the rich, the wise, the unwise, competing forces of good and evil and false prophesy. I see people who want to question for the sake of knowing the truth and those who do it for the purpose of destroying it. I see a group of scribes and Pharisees, who knew every law and how to explain it, but offered no hope to those who sought for it as theirs was the business of guarding the money, their benefits and gains rather than those who sought for healing. So I see a lot of corruption and hypocrisy in Jesus’ generation from its leadership. I also see the whiners and those totally dedicated to self destruction.
In our text though, Jesus is concerned with those who feel shortchanged with life, and those busy and sleepless for their own unique situations. The truth is that, Jesus proposes a difficult concept. Not to worry about life or tomorrow does not make sense when we look at these things as basic human needs and where bills, rent, mortgage, fees, etc must be fulfilled on time. Who cares about the birds and lilies of the field? Until you go for a bird watching walk, or visit a botanical garden? There you see the beauty, the quietness, the bird flies to where it does not know. It will come back in a year, having kept itself well, with no hard work and no worries about tomorrow.
But Jesus is also referring to human dignity as opposed to any other created being on earth. Jesus sees humans as different from animals, all under Gods watchful eyes, no matter which corner or who they are. Humans unlike animals are entitled to life eternal, hope and faith in the future. This is no matter how old/young we are. Jesus’ care takes into consideration our situations, accounts for every pain/ every effort/every endurance and patience. He takes care of every struggle, every work that we do to glorify him.
So today we do not celebrate our achievements. We celebrate his love, his grace and the fact that we are who we are at all. We are reminded of everything we have taken for granted, family, friends, a job, joy and happiness, life. We especially celebrate what money cannot buy, and what no other animal possesses. We respond to God’s love and grace. We bring our hopes and dreams, and leaps of faith and even our worries and anxieties. We thank him for all those who matter to us.
The Rev. Elivered Nasambu Mulongo is an ordained minister of the Anglican Church of Kenya and she resides in Brampton. ON. Canada
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