We had been preparing for a big event at the Cathedral this week. We were anxious about the choices we made. We were fretful, coordinating all the effort. We were pretty stressed, stretched in fear hoping for all to turn out good. Worry kept returning.
We prayed and reminded ourselves the assurance, “Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself” and sang in our hearts, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and everything else will be added unto you”.
We told ourselves we had given our best in all we could control; exhausted every idea and expended all energy. The rest is up to God. After all, this event is about his kingdom. And the worry went away.
But worry never goes away. It keeps returning in the other areas of our life. We worry for the future: anxious for our self and loved ones, stressed by our jobs and worry about money. Unlike the worry for the event, these worries do not go away. Why? Because we never fully allowed God control in these areas of our life.
Perhaps because of human nature, we do not see the “kingdom of God” in these areas. These areas are our own kingdom protectively bounded by our desires. We will not ‘let go, and let God in’ because we may not get what we want. And so worrying returns.
Worry distance us from the possibilities of the Divine; it blinds us from his intervention in our personal life. Worrying isolates us, trapping us into an imagined tomorrow that will never come. It takes us away from the real present; this very moment we breathe, this very moment we are alive. It is in this ‘here and now’ where we can find God active in our life, not in the ‘tomorrow’. So do not let the train of worry take us away.
But we have all been away because we have all at some stage in life lost the battle of not worrying. When we are away, we are too distant to make ourselves available to be like “the birds in the sky” and to be “fed by your heavenly Father”. When we depart from the “here and now”, we lose sight of the existence of God.
The event we were organising was about people, you and me, whose worries have taken us far away into the dungeon of our greatest doubt, “The Lord has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me”. In this darkness, we are stripped of everything leaving us clinging on only to hope.
It is for one another that we can make real this hope. Worry cannot be tackled alone. We need to accompany one another, sharing our experiences of the presence of God in our lives so as to embolden one another to trust him. To trust him and hand over control of our life; “Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you”.
The event celebrated this mission of people accompanying one another on our spiritual journey to trust God which has led to lives returning to faith. Through trust in him, worrying returns: it returns us into the kingdom of God.
8th Sunday in Ordinary Time