I went for an eye exam this week. As part of the routine tests, the doctor used a device that could see all the way into the back of my eyes. As she gazed into the recesses of my eyeballs (and apparently deep into my soul), she inquired somewhat slyly “do you live a stressful life?”
Apparently, my eyes had betrayed me. Something about the thickness of the blood vessels in the back of my eyeballs unveiled the truth; a fact I often try to hide with a smile and a laugh; a truth I try to conceal by trying to keep busy with tasks.
Jesus says don’t worry about your life but I worry about mine.
Jesus says don’t worry what you will eat or drink
But I worry about putting food on my family’s table
I worry about putting the right food on the table
I worry that I don’t put the right food in my body.
Jesus says don’t worry about your body, but I do.
Jesus says not to worry but I’m too busy worrying to hear him.
Jesus says “look around at God’s world” but my eyes are too stressed to see the birds in the air and the lilies in the field that he’s talking about.
But then I come here.
I make the effort, I find the time.
I come here, to this place with its sweet, sweet spirit ; a spirit that inhabits the building during the week, but that is so much more obvious when you’re here, when we’re here together.
The sweet expressions on your face clear the stress from my eyes, and I know that you – that we – feel the presence of the Lord.
And then I start to understand what Jesus was saying.
Then I can look around – stressed eyes or not – and find the peace of nature; the peace of wild things.
Yes, there’s things to do. Yes, there’s plenty to worry about.
But when I can stop and look around. When I take the time to be with God, to be in God’s world fully and completely, it changes me – even if it’s just for a moment.
Sandra taught the kids that we can calm our bodies by breathing 6 deep breaths.
I worry about Sandra leaving, so I breathe 6 deep breaths. And the world slows down – just a bit.
My heart rate quiets, my shoulders relax, maybe those traitorous blood vessels in the back of my eyes finally calm down too.
And then I remember. I remember that God is with me. I remember that Jesus says “don’t worry.” I remember the gift of the Holy Spirit that fills us and empowers us and maybe even gives us some peace.
Then I look around and see that my family is together, my children are safely back from camp and all the places they go and I know that there will be food on the table tonight.
I look around and remember; even though many in the church are away for the summer, they’ll be back in the fall. Even though some are traveling, you are here today – and today is what matters anyway. You help me find God.
Yes, even though Jesus tells us not to worry, as a community we’re still going to – but more importantly, as a church we’re going to help each other relax. The presence of the sweet, sweet spirit is here because of you – and she will remind us of the love that fills and sustains us.
A love that gets us through the summer months. A love that gets us through times of trial. A love that helps us say goodbye to Sandra AND to say hello to Stephanie. A love that fills us with excitement for whatever comes next and fills our hearts with songs of praise and glory.
Jesus says don’t worry, but I do. Do you?
Take some time with God today. Take those six deep breaths and – whether your eyes are as stressed as mine or not – take a look around you at the blessings in your life, at the blessings of this church community, and at God’s world; the earth and sky and sea.
Jesus says “don’t worry.” Maybe it’s time to start listening.