By: Betsy Mountenay
Readings: Job 1:1-22; Luke 21:34 – 22:6; Psalm 17
As a child, I concluded my favorite nursery rhyme as follows: “When she was good/ she was very very good/and when she was bad/she was worried.” Adorable malaprop from a child unfamiliar with the distinctly Dickensian word “horrid”? Perhaps. But I also think I was writing my autobiography. I was then, and am now, a habitual worrier. Worrying doesn’t always seem like a weakness. After all, anxiety has played a part in me being an impeccably behaved schoolgirl, a responsible teenager, a workplace success. Fear of disappointment, punishment, disgrace is a great motivator.
So imagine how insulted I felt when I read Christ preach the following to his disciples: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth.” I was very much not the party girl, thank you, so why should I be dismissed along with this crowd?
Perhaps a great deal of my worrying is at odds with my love of Christ. It is a lack of faith that makes me so fearful of a plethora of bad outcomes, so certain that the worst possible outcome is always at hand. God has given us the power of prayer to allay our worries, but I never seem to use it as well as I should. And much of what keeps me up at night is temporal and insignificant, stealing attention from heavy matters. So this Lent, I will not be giving up sweets because I’m fretting over my waistline or some other frivolity. Instead, I’m going to work to find the resilience to keep the anxieties of life off of my heart and use prayer to realign my thoughts on the wonder of God’s glorious love. For if Lent is a time to reflect on that which is not transient and does not fail us, then we need resilience to shut out everything else.
Grace-filled God, you have given us your Son as a model of love that is beyond this world. Grant me the resilience to see the wonders of your great love.