[[The following was delivered today at the 2012 National Festival for Young Preachers hosted by the Academy of Preachers, an organization of which I cannot speak higher. New friends, an old friend, and I were inducted into the Academy this morning, and I hope to tell you more about it in the coming weeks. It was a fantastic week of great preaching and inspiration. This sermon was delivered on the last day of the Festival. Hopefully in the coming days, there will also be a video.]]
God in the Year 2012
A Sermon on the Occasion of the 2012 National Festival for Young Preachers
5 January 2012; Louisville, Kentucky
“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
The Gospel according to St. Matthew, 6:25-33
New Revised Standard Version
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Everybody relax your shoulders and take a deep breath. 2011 is over.
If your experience has been like that of most of the world, 2011 was not exactly the best year ever. For the vast majority of people, 2011 was pretty bad. Last January, a little less than a year ago, the Arab Spring began in Tunisia and it hasn’t turned out exactly as hoped. In March, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami that devastated Japan. In May, American soldiers found and killed Osama bin-Laden, but the violence continues and relations with Pakistan get worse by the day. In June, the inhumane treatment of protesting Syrian citizens by their government and military began. Also in June, the state of Alabama passed an immigration law of despicable and diabolical proportions. In July, horrendous violence broke out in Norway by one who claimed the name of Christ. In September, thousands joined the Occupy Movement, a cause emblematic of the growing income disparity and abuse of privilege by the rich and powerful in the United States and around the world. In October, the European Union convened emergency meetings to deal with crippling debt in Greece. Millions are out of work. Husbands and wives cannot keep the lights on for much longer. Children are going to school hungry. Pensions are drying up. The economy is in the worst place it has been in a long time.
2012 is not looking any better. The economy shows little sign of becoming as strong as it used to be. The presidential race and the legislative system have become parodies of the democratic process. Gridlock in Washington shows nothing but signs of sticking around for the foreseeable future. So, yes, 2012 is not looking much better, is it?
Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink. Do not worry about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Is not life more than what keeps you alive, that precious foodstuff that you don’t have right now? Is the body not more than the clothing that your children don’t have even though it’s just after Christmas? I’m sorry, Jesus, but the birds of the air are choking on fumes, the lilies of the field have been covered with concrete, and the grass got thrown into the oven and it never grew back. I’m sorry, Jesus, but those people who are worrying about their lives got to put dinner on their tables. The 1% worry about their lives, and they’re doing quite well for themselves. I’m sorry Jesus, but maybe you made a mistake. Read the rest of this entry