Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Do not be Anxious (Matthew 6:25–34)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Friday, 10 March 2017

Week 2: Liberated by God’s Grace

Week 2, Day 6

“Be not Afraid,” John Michael Talbot

Be not afraid. 

I go before you always. 

Come follow me, and 

I will give you rest. 

Do not be Anxious (Matthew 6:25–34)

Marko Tiitus, Lutheran, Estonia

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. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? 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. 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? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?’ or “What will we drink?’ or “What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” 

At a leadership training course a business executive found that fifty-four percent of his worries related to things that were unlikely to happen; twenty-six percent related to past actions that could not be changed; eight percent related to the opinions of people whose opinions really did not matter to him; four percent concerned personal health issues that he had since resolved; and only six percent concerned real issues worthy of his attention. By identifying and then letting go of the worries he could do nothing about or that were a complete waste of his energy, he eliminated ninety-four percent of the problems that had plagued him.

However, letting go of all or most of one’s worries is not merely a matter of mental technique; rather it is the outcome and fruit of trust. Jesus, talking about worrying about clothes, food and drink, says, “indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The basis of trust is an experience that, in spite of the instability, unpredictability and controversialism of life, the course of the world and our own life are ultimately in the hands of God.

Trusting in God is about giving up one’s own strength and accepting oneself as weak and helpless. Paradoxically, there is nothing more secure than to feel one’s own weakness; this is connected to understanding that one’s vanity is embraced by an inexplicable power. My experiences will help me to grasp that this inexplicable power is nothing but my Heavenly Father.

Human beings who discover in themselves even a tiny bit of trust in God and in life are relieved of the stress of constantly worrying and awake to see their present and future more clearly. Their lives are getting more and more interesting and colorful. What type of job can I do? What am I going to do together with my family or friends? Are there any new hobbies waiting for me? These questions become important when one’s energy and time are relieved from constant worrying and devoted to living more fully in communion with God and one’s neighbors.

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”