I realise at the moment there is unprecedented worry and fear with the reality of living in a world impacted by COVID-19. First and foremost I want to assure all of our church family that we are taking steps to ensure that the Anglican Church Robina and all of its activities remain safe and inclusive, risks are mitigated, precautions are taken and advice is followed.
My expectation is that some things, at least, will need to change, perhaps some things will change for a period while others might change forever. We should not be afraid of change because God always calls us to partner together in showing love, care, compassion and good news to this ever changing world.
In Matthew’s gospel Jesus tells us: ‘Do not worry’ (Matthew 6:25-34) but if you have been following Graham Leo’s Lenten reflection you’ll know that the context of this passage is important. It is part of the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ teaching about what life is and will be like as part of the Kingdom of God. I’m sure Jesus knows we will all continue to worry from time to time but Jesus presents for us in this extended teaching moment, a framework, when you consider all the other teachings, of how to live without being paralysed by fear and worry. Jesus is teaching his followers to be active.
Have you ever been told by someone not to worry and it’s only made you more worried? I know some of the looks I’ve got when I’ve uttered those words haven’t always been friendly! But when we hear Jesus use these words, particularly in the framework of the Sermon on the Mount, it can and it does have a centring impact on us.
I don’t think that Jesus is telling us to switch our brains off and hand everything over to God. When we realise that God has blessed us with gifts and talents, and that includes our intelligence, it does not make any sense that we should ever be walking around with what has come to be known as ‘blind faith’.
As part of our being blessed with gifts, talents and opportunities we also each have a sphere of influence and the ability to control and direct some things. Jesus is not saying that we should let go of all our responsibilities because “God’s got it all in control”. I do believe that part of the way God ‘controls’ is by using the influence of followers of Jesus. We are called however, to exercise this influence and control with care, compassion and a sense of service.
‘Do not worry’ does not mean ‘Do nothing’. In fact I think that it means to pursue with even more fervour the Kingdom of God, to try even harder to live up to the ideals that Jesus set, to recognise and exercise the gifts we’ve been given. Perhaps the best way not to worry is to do even more!
I don’t know what the coming days, weeks and months will bring, but I do know that the church will be needed – you will be needed. Stay ready for even more!