GiftsEden On The Bay

All are welcome ~ Come as you are

Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising, Michigan

Thanksgiving - 11/24/2015

"Do not worry," Jesus says to us this evening. He doesn't phrase it as a suggestion or gentle guidance either. It's a command. And it's a tough command, maybe as hard as the commandments to love God above all else and love neighbor as we love ourselves.

The fact that it is a command though clues us in to how important it is. As children of God, we are promised God's abundant care, but in a world where we regularly hear of everything that is going wrong – war, terror, disease, dishonesty – it's easy to lose sight of God's abundant care for creation. This includes God's most unexpected and amazing act of love for us in the person of Jesus, who came right here, on this planet to live with us, to teach us, to know what it is to suffer with us, to die for us and ultimately to defeat the shackles of death and sin for us.

Even so, even in the certainty of that divine act, we may find it hard to hear these words from Jesus when so much can weigh on our hearts and minds. Do not worry, do not be anxious, do not fear, do not give thought to these things.

Being the big-brained, co-creators we are – built to to survive, hard-wired to imagine better ways and beautiful things, instinctively-driven to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our things – we can find it very challenging to offer our worries up to God. In one breath we joyfully profess our faith in this Creator who cares so deeply for us and forever stole the last word from death and sin. But in the next we find ourselves easily distracted and set to alarm and worrying. Thankfully, we have a patient God who keeps calling us back. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life... but strive for the Kingdom of God and God's righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Tonight, I would like to offer up a few additional voices that will hopefully cast light on our reading from Matthew in different ways and in prayerful hope that a word or phrase may fall on each of our minds and hearts to help us respond faithfully to this Thanksgiving commandment we receive from our beloved Redeemer this evening.

First, a reading from Rainer Maria Rilke's Book of Hours, Loves Poems to God. (Anita Barrows, Riverhead Books, 2005, Page 169)

Thomas Merton on an act of human creation. (The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals, HarperOne; Reprint edition, 2001, Page 9)

From the Book of the Desert Mothers.  (In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Reflection and Prayer, Jan L. Richardson, Upper Room Books, 2010, Page 143)

And now I ask you to turn to a neighbor and share for a few minutes – what came to mind when you heard Jesus say to us this evening, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life ...”

Thank you for taking a moment to be courageous enough to share a little about the worry that clings to your heart. I will end with prayer and within this prayer I will make a space for you to offer these worries you spoke of and the worries you could not speak of into the more capable hands of our God. You may speak these worries aloud or silently knowing that you are surrounded by a community that cares to support you and saturated by a God who made you, goes with you everywhere and loves you eternally.

Let us pray.

Gracious and Loving God of Creation,

You are the life of everything that surrounds us, the breath of everything that stirs in creation, the only One who can work as powerfully through all our mistakes and profanities as you do through our successes and righteousness. As followers of Your Son, our Redeemer, Jesus, we are freed to live courageously, fearlessly, and certainly in Your love for us. And yet, this is hard work for us many days. On this day, as we gather together with neighbor and in the spirit of Christ's Church on earth, we offer up to you now – silently and aloud – those worries and fears that hold us back from being all that you imagine us.

Pause

Into your capable hands and abundant grace we lift these worries and fears, O God. Teach us to be obedient to your Word so that we may be living examples of the bright and hopeful light of Christ in a worried and weary world.

Amen.

Pastor Ann Gonyea

Home | Prayer Requests | Calendar | Education | Facebook | Guest Book | Sermons

Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising Michigan ~ An ELCA, Northern Great Lakes Synod Congregation
P.O. Box 360 ~ 1150 West M-28 ~ Munising, MI 49862 ~ 1-906-387-2520 ~ contact@edenonthebay.org

Website designed and maintained by Superior Book Productions