Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween - Consider the Ravens

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:13-31 

We've lived in both Baltimore, Maryland and Sitka, Alaska, where ravens play a big roll in daily life. In Baltimore, they are forever linked with Edgar Allen Poe, and now the football franchise. They represent the dark, haunting, self-effacing and tough Baltimore that is just hiding around the corner. In Sitka, the ravens are everywhere, ruling the town. They are social, working together to get what they want. They are vocal and complain mightily if humans do something they don't like. They are beautiful and strong in both cases,menacing and comical in the same moment. Very like us humans.

Jesus invited his friends to quit worrying about the stuff of life. Every worry keeps us away from the love and power of God. And it is surely easy to say, and easy to hear, but always much harder for us to do. We easily get fearful and lonely, and find ourselves in moments of terror and panic. We are bombarded by ads and messages that tell us we are never doing enough to secure our lives. But on this day, when the world is askew, children are allowed to knock on strangers' doors, and when the distance between living and dead seems almost permeable, may we let go of worry, and be childlike in the face of a extraordinarily loving God.  The Creator, who knows our weakness as well as our needs and promises to come home and dwell with us.

Today, I ask God to help me be childlike in my faith. May the worries of the world drain off, and may we find delight and wonder in neighbors and strangers alike. May we laugh at our fears and worries, trusting that God will provide our needs. And may we welcome and embrace every ghoul, goblin and fairy that comes our way, knowing that even these are blessings from heaven.

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