Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Even King Solomon, in all his wealth and finery, could not outdress these lilies. Jesus assures the disciples that they need not be anxious about their next meal or place of rest. If God clothes even the lilies so beautifully, would not God clothe them even more tenderly and fully? Strive for God’s Kingdom, says Jesus, and God will provide all these things.
Yet, I understand the disciples’ worry. Worry and anxiety are known to all of us, even twenty centuries later. Each of us carries anxiety over something-- an illness, relationship, money, work, a loved one.
Strangely, worry and anxiety actually help us feel as if we are in control. If we worry enough about something, we grow comfortable with all its sharp edges. We get to know that worry so well that we feel in charge of it. And when life gets rocky and the future uncertain, what else but a feeling of control can anchor us?
Yet anxiety and worry can also obscure faith. Faith in God means giving up our perception of being in control. Rather than cling to our anxiety, we strengthen our faith in God by letting anxiety go. This may seem an impossible task, but it’s a practice. Try this: be present in the moment. Put the phone away. Be fully present when washing dishes, talking with a neighbor, or waiting in line at the grocery store. For just those few minutes, worry evaporates. We are more observant, more engaged, and more connected to one another. With practice, we can become better listeners, lovers, neighbors and ultimately, better disciples of Christ.
Loving God, crack open our hearts and let the worry seep out. Plant in its place a growing faith in your presence, and abiding trust that you will clothe us and free us to seek the Kingdom of God. Amen.