Do not be anxious

God, I sure wish you were here …

Scripture reference: Philippians 4:6-7

mother_child

As a mother stills her child…

Today I’m going to tell you about a little girl. Josie was her middle name. Now Josie was a worrier. She worried about all kinds of things: if her shoes were on the right feet; if she was going to have a birthday party; if she could find her way home after school; she sometimes even worried if her big sister had divided up the cookies at the tea party so it would be fair!

BUT, Josie’s biggest worry was storms at bedtime.

If she was brushing her teeth and putting on her pj’s to get ready for bed, and the sky was cloudy and angry-looking, Josie would zip over to the window, toothbrush still in her mouth, to see what the sky was doing. And into her stomach came something that went flip-flop with every thunder-banger.

Josie would quick, quick, dive into her bed and say her prayers with one ear listening to the thunder and rain, and with her eyes squeezed tight. Then she’d pull up the bedsheets as far they would go, and she’d crawl into her bed as far as she could go! And with every flash of lightning flip-flop went her stomach! She couldn’t even think about her baby brother who might be anxious, too! Josie would say to herself: “I don’t want to be scared; I don’t want to be scared.”

One stormy summer night Josie brushed her teeth, dived into bed and said her prayers and curled up into an anxious little ball under the covers, while the lightning flashed and the thunder crashed. “I sure wish Mommy were here,” she whispered softly. “Mommy, I want you to be here.”

The thunder crashed. The rain poured down. Then Josie, deep under the covers, felt the bed creak as though …..   she pulled down the bedsheet and peeked into the darkness.

There was Mommy, not saying a word, just sitting quietly at the foot of her bed, keeping company, while lightning fingers poked at the sky.

But – how could Mommy have known? After all, she’d only whispered very softly, “Mommy, I want you to be here.” And Josie’s stomach stopped flip-flopping; and she wrapped her arms around her raggedy bear and went to sleep. And when she woke up the storm was over!

The little girl grew up, and became a woman; and there was a different kind of storm; she became very sick. And when she was so very sick and lying in her bed, anxious about her family and her life; God was there even though she hadn’t called for Him out loud.

And her kept her company during the sickness storm, so that she could go to sleep and wake up to a new day.

Paul, the great Apostle, l knew what he was talking about. Paul had plenty of experience with pain; he knew about the fear that makes us unable to put everything into the care of the Lord, unwilling to accept totally that God is the captain. Indeed, fear robs the joy and meaning of life.

So what then? …. how can we be released from care? Ah, yes, the everlasting promise of peace if we take all to the Lord in prayer. “It no longer storms in my heart, even though all the burdens aren’t all gone.”

In the storms of life: The Lord speaks; the storm at life; the storms of life, of deep anxiety.

As a mother stills her child…

Listen to Stand By Me by David Lennard

Advertisements

You’re Invited!

A Story about a King, a Wedding Dinner, and Yeses and Nos

Scripture reference: Matthew 22:1-14

09_Great_Feast_JPEG_1024[1]

Excuses, excuses, excuses…!

This is a story about a king, a wedding dinner, and yeses and nos.

Once upon a time there was a king whose beloved son was going to be married. Ahhh …. a wedding! This made the king very happy. “I’ll have a delicious wedding dinner for my son – and invite the rulers of the cities to come and rejoice with me!”

So the king’s kitchen servants bustled about, slaughtering and roasting a whole ox and several especially fat calves, and preparing all kinds of marvellous foods. Fine white coats were hung in the hallway – one for each guest to put on. The king’s messenger servants ran from house to house with invitations for the important rulers of the cities in the kingdom. “Please honour my son; come eat at my table and share in my joy.”

One by one, the servants returned, to tell the king: “My lord, he does not wish to come”; “My lord, he says he has fieldwork to do”; “My lord, he does not want to come”; “My lord, he says he’s too busy!”

What!? not want to come? Did all those important people the king had invited not think it was a special honour to share in the king’s happiness? Didn’t they even appreciate the invitation?

The king was a patient king. Once more, he sent out his servants. “Tell them,” he said, “about the huge dishes full of good food that my servants are preparing, just for them” “Perhaps,” he thought, “they’ll come now.” They didn’t. They didn’t care about the invitation. They weren’t interested in sharing the king’s joy. Some of them even grabbed and killed the messenger servants who had been sent by the king to repeat the invitation.

The king was no longer patient. He was angry. Those murderers!! How dare they first say they didn’t want to come to this very special day, and then kill his faithful servants!! And so the king sent his army to kill the murderers and burn their cities.

But …. There was the king’s feast, delicious and ready to serve…. But TO WHOM? “I am determined to find others who can share in my joy,” said the king, and once more servants were sent out to with the same invitation. BUT not to the privileged and important people. THIS TIME the invitation was for anyone at all – rich and poor, proud  and meek, good and bad.

The white wedding coats still hung in the hallway, ready for the guests, and the king’s table was filled with fine food.

And these guests all came – eagerly, hesitantly, carefully, fearfully, – one by one – into the king’s palace, until at last the hall was full.

“Have we really been invited to sit in the presence of the king? To share in his joy? To eat with him? “ And all those who had come put on one of the fine white coats, ate at the king’s table, and shared in his joy.

This story has been told many, many times since Jesus told it first of all. Jesus, the great Teacher, told this story to the important rulers of the Jews because they thought they could say “no” to Jesus, and they thought it wouldn’t matter.

BUT IT DOES!.

Listen to two great versions of “Come and Go With Me to My Father’s House”:

And here’s a great little video of the parable presented by Hand to Mouth Puppets.

Say YES!