Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Following God's breadcrumbs

A church reader board had this “interesting” statement.  “Don’t let worry kill you, let the church help”  Don’t let worry kill you.  Let the church help!  Worry!  It’s a big deal.  We all know about worry.  For many of us it is an all too familiar companion.  It goes b y a lot of names. . . this affliction.  Anxiety, dis-ease, concern, apprehension, nervousness, angst, fear. 

It is the last word that hits home for most of us.  Fear!  And if there is anything we know about fear, it is about how powerful it is.  It has a lot of impact.  There are some positives – fear helps us survive.  But fear also produces things that are often far from positive.  Anger, defensiveness, grasping, a pulling of resources to ourselves, apathy, self-centeredness, alienation, isolation, hate, even death.

It is pretty clear – when we are wrapped up in fear or worry, we are not living optimally.  We are not, probably, loving, caring, giving, being open sharing.  Worry eats at the fabric of who we are. 
So what is the antidote to worry?  Jesus in Luke tells his followers, “do not worry. about your  life, what you will eat, or about your body what you will wear”  Instead?  “Do not be afraid little flock, for it is God’s good pleasure to give you, the kingdom.”

There is there a way to deal with fear?  It is called faith.  Trust in God, In God’s love, in God’s forgiveness, in the generosity of God. When we trust God, then we can look at life a completely different way.  We don’t have to look back, and carry with us the fear and worry generate by what has happened in the past.  And we don’t have to look ahead, imagining, with anxiety, all the bad things that might happen  We don’t have to walk through life closed, protective, suspicious, hugging our resources to ourselves.  Instead we can move forward – Open, Loving, Forgiving, Giving - living life in the context of God’s love.

Wayne Muller, in his book “A life of being, having and doing enough” has a wonderful concept that I think says, in a very creative way, what Jesus was talking about in this wonderful parable.  He notes that we are assailed by our worry:  We worry about whether we are enough, good enough, talented enough, strong enough.  We worry about whether we will have enough – enough food, money, possessions,  power.  We worry about whether we will do enough, whether at the end of our days we  will be able to look back with pride at our life, about whether others will admire  us, remember us, honor us.

But he insists that it is important that we don’t go there.  We don’t cave into our worry.  How do we avoid doing that?  We do it by focusing on the moment, that the past, not the future, but on the moment, and, in that moment, by listening to our inner sense of what is right, what is most nourishing.  To put it another way, we counter worry by going inside, and listening to the Christ in Us, the Spirit.  And then?  Then all we have to do is make one choice.  It is Muller insists the only choice we have to make.  It is a choice we make over and over and over again, but it is the choice…What is the next right thing for me to do?

We can’t make this choice when we are looking way out there, into the future. When we are looking at all the variables that are coming at us from every direction.  When we are listening to a million voices.  We can’t do it when our view of reality is twisted and warped by our pasts.  We can only do it when, in this moment we trust God - and then listen to God.  And then take – just – one – step

We trust God, and we make the next right choice. In Spirit we chose to take that next step, as an open, trusting , giving person. And then?  We look for the next right thing to do…In many small choices, we strive for the kingdom, we make the choices, and God is there… taking us where we need to go… Giving us what we need.  Muller likens this process to following breadcrumbs from God,

I like this concept .  It means moving from a lack of trust to trust.  It means moving from a place where, looking far into the future I try to set my course.  Where I functionally try to supervise the work of God.  To a place where I humbly follow God’ tender prompting as it comes in the power of the Spirit. 
I pray that I can have the faith to follow the bread crumbs. 

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