Do not worry...

Dear Church Family,

As we head towards the end of our “Harvest Week”, I am greatly encouraged by the visible offerings that have accumulated around the altar at St Peter’s this week. The teachings of Jesus are clear around how we should view our own possessions and wealth. In this Sunday’s Gospel reading from Luke 12, Jesus says this:

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds…and do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying.”
Luke 12: 22-24, 29

It is hard not to worry – which is why Jesus says, “Don’t worry” and “do not fear” frequently. We need reminding! In a world with a 24-hour news culture, we are bombarded with information about everything that is going wrong with the planet. We should, of course, be concerned around matters of injustice, poverty, and corruption. However, we can find ourselves in a terrible place if we take on the weight of these things on our own, without remembering we have a saviour. Jesus comes to us in our brokenness, he comes to join us in the day-to-day messiness of our lives. Our hope is never in our own ability to deal with the problems of the world or in our own strength – our hope can only lie in fully trusting in the redeeming power and love of the Lord. In teaching us not to worry about food and clothing, Jesus is opening up the way for us to grow in faith and trust that God will take care of us.

In a recent reflection from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE), Br Nicolas Bartoli highlighted how we might allow ourselves to grow in trust:

“Our contemplative tradition teaches us that the purest way of knowing God is through “unknowing.” Unknowing means letting go of our attachment to thoughts and feelings, as well as attachment to memories of the past and anticipations of the future. When we “unknow” all things, we rely only on God, coming to rest in the Divine Nothingness of God’s eternal Presence where we find God’s Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.”

The Desert Father, St John of the Cross also taught people to enter into this place of unknowing as a way of living in “pure hope”. Only by letting go of our worries and concerns are we able to enter into the love and life of God. We must try and empty ourselves in order that the Holy Spirit can fill the space!

So let’s be a people who are not worried so much about our own needs, but about the needs of others. Let’s respond to Jesus’ teaching about sharing our food with the poor:

“Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none, and whoever has food must do likewise.”

Luke 3:11