Thursday 21st March
Matthew 14:31 Why did you doubt?
A question that we often ask ourselves! Why did I doubt?
I am sure Jesus asked this question with a smile on his face.
He had walked across the water to where once again
they were struggling against the elements.
Peter, full of confidence responded to his beckoning to come
by stepping out of the boat and onto the water.
Then fears crept in: What if I sink? What if I drown?
His trust deserted him and he felt like a failure.
Jesus reached out his hand, caught him, and held him;
as he does you and me, time and time and time again.
We are called, we are chosen, we are God’s precious creation,
we will never be left alone, no matter how many times we doubt.
When in Hours of Fear and Failing by Novalis
When in hours of fear and failing,
All but quite our hearts despairs;
When, with sickness driven to wailing,
Anguish at our bosom tears.
Then our loved ones we remember;
All their grief and trouble rue;
Clouds close in on our December
And no beam of hope shines through.
Then, oh then! God bends him o’er us;
Then his love grows very clear!
Long we heavenward then – before us
Lo, his angel standing near!
Life’s cup fresh to us he reaches;
Whispers comfort, courage new;
Nor in vain our prayer beseeches
Rest for the believer too.
Friday 22nd March
Matthew 6:28 Why are you anxious?
Good question. Why are we anxious?
If anxiety was a problem in the time of Jesus,
It must really be an epidemic now.
We live in a very anxious and stressed out world,
and we find ourselves getting worked up about so many different things.
One of the things Jesus suggested to those around him
was that they spent time considering the lilies of the field
and birds of the air.
That advice is probably even more important in this day and age
when we are becoming more and more cut off from nature and beauty.
Research has shown time and time again that spending more time
in the natural world, and among things of beauty,
is essential for a good balanced life,
and helps to control our anxiety and stress.
Why are you anxious?
Do you need more time contemplating beauty?
I Worried by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot. Will the gardens grow, will the rivers
Flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not, how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing,
even the sparrows can do it and I am, well, hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing,
and gave it up. And took my old body
and went into the morning
Saturday 23rd March
Matthew 6:25 Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
In the same passage in which Jesus speaks about anxiety
he also asks questions about our obsession with food and clothing,
and I am sure that he was also referring to other material things.
Of course we need adequate food, clothing, etc. in order to live well;
What Jesus is referring to is our demand for more, and bigger and better.
Our modern, consumer driven, society tells us again and again
that we cannot live without this or that, or the latest new fad.
We have forgotten how to live simply and within our means;
and, even more importantly, within our beautiful planet’s means.
We do not need to have the latest designer clothing,
or the richest choicest food, that dream car, holiday, or home,
in order to be content and happy.
We have just been fooled into thinking we do.
Is not life more than material possessions? Jesus asks.
The challenge we face is to discover that it is.
R.S Thomas The Gift
Some ask the world
and are diminished
in the receiving
of it. You gave me
only this small pool
that the more I drink
from, the more overflows
me with sourceless light.
Thanksgiving is sweeter than bounty itself.
One who cherishes gratitude does not cling to the gift!
Thanksgiving is the true meat of God’s bounty; the bounty is its shell.
For thanksgiving carries you to the heart of the Beloved.
Abundance alone brings heedlessness;
thanksgiving gives birth to alertness.
The bounty of thanksgiving will satisfy and elevate you,
and will bestow a hundred bounties in return.
Eat your fill of God’s delicacies,
And you will be freed from hunger and begging.