CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©
A friend recently reported that her therapist said, “I’m getting depressed myself. All day I hear the same anxieties on the same subject.”
Yes, we live in anxious times, but the antidote for anxiety is quite simple. Wm. Schutz, the psychologist, said that when someone told him, “I’m depressed,” he would reply, “Well, cheer up then.” Jesus says the same thing.
The lectionary Gospel for yesterday was Matthew 6:25-34. Our pastor, Jimmy Moore, was sick all week, an unusual condition for him. It slowed him down and gave him lots of time to listen to Jesus, in that Matthew passage, where Jesus says we should cheer up.
Jimmy didn’t listen only to Jesus, but he listened to his own heart, where there is a lot of anxiety, because he is a fretful person to begin with, and because he was sick and wasn’t sure he could get ready to preach or actually preach, and because he has a congregation of people like me, who have many anxieties, and he has to worry about us.
That, of course, meant that in the weak of his dis-ease, he was listening to his congregation, too.
And he listened to the cries of the world, where if you are not anxious about the future, you are asleep or dead.
He’s a good listener, even when he’s not sick. Yesterday, he brought his listenings together in a three point sermon, which is very unusual for Jimmy. He says that people actually complain because he wanders around and doesn’t give them points, so today he gave us a three point list. I like those kinds of lists, especially if I can boil each point down to one word. I can remember them that way.
Here’s the list in three words: Beauty, truth, and action.
BEAUTY: Jimmy used Jesus’ admonition to the disciples of that day to look at the lilies and the birds to avoid anxiety. Find the beauty and see it.
TRUTH: Testify to something each day that you know to be true. As I walked Sunday afternoon, I saw in two different yards those signs in three languages that say: No matter who you are or where you come from, we are glad you’re here. Those folks were testifying to a truth, that all people belong to God.
ACTION: Find something each day that you can do to make the world a better place. A lot of anxiety comes from feeling that we are powerless. We aren’t. There are things we can do to make things better.
When you listen to Jesus carefully, each passage contains all the words of Jesus, those not just about beauty, but about truth and action, too.
I did those three things yesterday. The world is still a mess, but I’m less anxious…and I’m better at listening to Jesus, so I think I’ll do them again today.
I tweet as yooper1721.
When I say that Jimmy is a fretful person, I’m reporting what he said, not my observations.
I started this blog several years ago, when we followed the grandchildren to the “place of winter,” Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP]. I put that in the sub-title, “Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter, where life is defined by winter even in the summer!” [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] The grandchildren, though, are grown up, so in May, 2015 we moved “home,” to Bloomington, IN, where we met and married. It’s not a “place of winter,” but we are still in winter years of the life cycle, so I am still trying to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter…