Look at the birds of the air….Consider the lilies of the field
Since our SNE UCC Offices closed to help flatten the curve of Covid 19, my daily commute has been replaced with opportunities to walk outside. I am fortunate to live in a rural part of CT and the birds in this unfolding season have really caught my attention. Perhaps this happens every spring, but the songs seem clearer, the colors brighter. The male goldfinches at our feeder are beginning to molt and take on their bright yellow feathers. A cardinal seems to appear every time I look out the window. A red-tailed hawk soared effortlessly on a thermal in the bright blue sky just the other day. And earlier in the week I was blessed with a surprise. As I walked up to a stream near the bottom of my street, a great blue heron was standing stately and still, on a rock not 30 feet away. God seems to be sending me a gift through these beautiful creatures.
Jesus gives us instruction for anxious times in the comforting words found in Matthew 6:25-34, reminding us to let go of worries about the future and suggesting instead that we turn to nature as our teacher. God has created a world of beauty, of variety, of persistent life force all around us and we are meant to enjoy THIS day.
In recent weeks our households and work schedules have been disrupted. Many of us are juggling home-schooling, care-giving, and work all in the same space. We have very real concerns about health, safety, and financial viability. Loved ones have been stricken or are at risk. We are trying to figure out how to adapt our ministry and create community in online settings.
This pandemic has turned everything upside down, and life will not be the same even when the germs subside. Each day we are over-loaded with frightening statistics and inundated with demands to adapt every aspect of our lives.
Our inclination is to try to keep up, to read every post, and to work at frenetic pace to maintain some semblance of control or keep ahead of the spread. We try to DO to respond. But Jesus calls us to BE, to take time to look to the birds of the air and consider the lilies of the field.
While the work load is pressing, we would do well to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to conserve our emotional and physical energy to carry out our ministry for the days, weeks, and months before us. Rev. Matt Crebbin reminds us of the importance of self-care in his recent blog. You cannot bring your best self to the children, youth, and families that you serve if you, yourself are not grounded.
So take a sabbath break to breathe in the beauty of creation all around you. Carve out a bit of time to pray, walk, draw, play music, read, or invest in some other activity that replenishes your spirit. Discipleship begins with attention to your relationship with the divine. When you take time to care for your own spiritual health, you will have the strength to be a balm to another who may be overcome with anxiety.
As we remember the passion, death, and victory of Jesus this week, we know that we are not abandoned. We are never separated from God's infinite love. Take a moment each day to rest in that promise, to breathe deeply, and to listen to the music of the birds.
Debby Kirk is the Faith Formation Team Leader of the Southern New England Conference. She serves on the Faith Formation Team and oversees the Youth and Young Adult Ministries programs of the Conference. She organizes leadership development programs ...