Each week Pastor Sarah blogs on the Scripture for Sunday's upcoming sermon. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!
Sunday's Scripture ~ Matthew 6:25-34.
This Sunday’s worship service is provided to Florida United Methodist Churches as a gift from our Appointive Cabinet. Throughout the worship service we will hear from each of the district superintendents, the director of Latino/Latina ministries, the assistant to the bishop, and our episcopal leader, Bishop Ken Carter. They will share with you greetings and words of hope.
When we encounter a circumstance that causes us worry, we have a number of options available to us:
We can deny there is anything to worry about.
We can avoid what is causing us to worry.
We can repress the worrying feelings.
We can obsess about the worrying feelings and/or worrisome circumstance.
While these options are available to us, I do not believe they are part of God's preferred future for us. Jesus tells us specifically in Matthew 6 to not worry and to seek instead the Kingdom of God. This instruction has been and remains a guiding light for me during this season. When I am overwhelmed with concern, when I feel paralyzed by circumstances beyond my control, when I find myself grieving the time missed with family, friends, and church family, I am grateful that God's Spirit returns my attention to seeking the Kingdom of God - be it through time spent in prayer, writing a note, sending a text, singing a song, or reading Scripture. In a season that, at times, has felt so purposeless - where I have found myself hollering what is the point!? - these practices that draw me away from worry ground me in God's purpose for me.
Seeking the Kingdom - that is and will always be the point.
And I trust that these practices can and do ground you, too.
In times of worry, I find that I often turn to poetry for pause and reflection. Thomas Troeger is a favorite poet of mine and he offers these verses in response to Jesus' instruction to not worry and to seek first the Kingdom of God.
Let us pray.
Seek for the kingdom with all your powers! Live by your faith, not the fear in your bone.
Think on the raven, consider the flowers: all that is living is cherished and known.
More than the beauty that brightens the field, more than the wings that are flashing in flight,
Jesus in dying and rising revealed we are encompassed by love and by light.
Seek then the kingdom discerning its signs: peace that defuses the weapons of death,
justice defeating oppression's designs, healing that strengthens our pulse and our breath.
Seek for the kingdom with body and mind. Seek it by action and strenuous thought.
Seek, and in seeking by grace you will find wonders surpassing the wonder you sought.* Amen.
*"Seek for the Kingdom with All of Your Powers" by Thomas Troeger in Borrowed Light (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994) 177.