Saturday, February 26, 2011

"No one can serve two masters. He will
either hate one and love the other, or be
devoted to one and despise the other. You
cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I
tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat (or 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 in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather
nothing into barns, yet your heavenly
Father feeds them. Are not you more
important than they? Can any of you by
worrying add a single moment to your life-
span? Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin. But I tell you
that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them. If God so
clothes the grass of the field, which
grows today and is thrown into the oven
tomorrow, will he not much more provide
for you, O you of little faith? So do not
worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or
'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we
to wear?' All these things the pagans
seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you
need them all. But seek first the kingdom
(of God) and his righteousness, and all
these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will
take care of itself. Sufficient for a day
is its own evil."
Matt. 6:24-34

This reading goes along well with the Gospel from last Sunday, in that this reading provides the method by which we can fulfill the command from the last one. If we renounce our claim to the things that literally and figuratively surround us, then we can begin to understand how to "turn the other cheek" and respond peacefully to insult and injury. We protect our possessions because we do not think that we can survive without them. We spend our money on insurance and security systems because we think that they make us safe, and yet we forget that we could be dead in the morning and our hold on our possessions would vanish with our dying breath. This isn't to say that possessions aren't useful or that we shouldn't have them, but rather that we shouldn't allow ourselves to become obsessed with them to the point where we give over our happiness to them and make them idols. This brings us back to the beginning of the reading, where Jesus says that we must choose between God and Mammon. When we focus too much on keeping what we have then we turn it into an idol and forget about our worship of God. What we must do is put our possessions into our own service while remembering that they are not important and that we can do without them. Only then will we be willing to embrace the radical peace that God leads us to without consideration of what must be left behind.

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