Wouldn’t it be delightful to feel unburdened, free of anxiety, relaxed about our life, and clear about everything?
I remember a friend laughing incredulously when I cited Thomas Merton’s admonition to his novices to remember that “the Christian life is a life lived free of anxiety.” Thomas Merton was not, however, joking.
He was connected to that Spirit which speaks the truth, but often makes the gospel seem ridiculous. He was a true “fool for Christ”.
To ask any of us to be free from worry is, without question, impossible. (Not that it prevented from Thomas Merton reminding us to try). Worry is part of our human condition. It’s not surprising we sometimes fail to embrace God’s love and grace and wonder why we feel so helpless and overstretched.
When Jesus sent his disciples out into the world without food or money, or even a change of clothes,
he was teaching them to resist their anxiety
. If the word of love and forgiveness was to be made real, they had to experience it for themselves. We are familiar with the many times they doubted Jesus’ word or power. This time they were to try out the Jesus way through their own words and deeds. They discovered they too could preach the gospel, call the people of God to turn their back on sin, and heal the sick. All they had to do was believe. As do we.
Jesus invites us, as he invited his disciples, to
receive his own gentleness and humbleness of heart
. In doing so, he says, we will find rest from the things that can consume us. We will be released to live out the good news for ourselves. The disciples tried it and found it surprisingly powerful. As in all things, God does not leave us on our own. That we can trust. It will make us strong.
Take a deep breath. Trust God. Smile.
The Rev. Susan N. Eaves