Today’s troubles are enough…

My sermon this morning (a little off lectionary because I was away last week) was about rejecting attempting to reject the pressures of society that tell us to have more, more, more in favor of seeing that we have enough. As that Wise Man put it, look at the birds and the flowers. They make it; they are beautiful. And if God cares about them and provides for them, what do we have to worry about? You can hear the sermon, Enough for Today (also entitled My iPhone, let me show you it) at my sermon archive.

Of course the truth is that we do worry about a great many things. Every time I pass a gas station I wonder how I’m going to afford the next $40 tank of gas, let alone the single parents in my congregation and the families in town whose kids get out of school (and away from those free lunches) in a couple weeks’ time. And we do stockpile lots of stuff we don’t need, from fancy clothes and big houses to my personal weaknesses, books, electronic gadgets and more books.

Does this worry make us more efficient? More prepared? Does the stuff make us happier? More secure? Better informed and able to communicate? In my sermon, I referenced Colin Beaven, No Impact Man,  who discussed in a few recent posts the cravings for more weighed against the joys of focusing on importnat stuff like family and friends and finding deep meaning in life. I challenged my congregation to fast from something for a day or so this week– not as penance or cleansing or even to make the world a better place, but as a tool to reflect on what makes us happy. Are we happier without checking our email every five minutes? Without worrying about the price of gas? Without pumping caffeine in our bodies? (I don’t know about you, but I’m chronically guilty of all three of those!)

I never issue a challenge to my congregation without being willing to answer it myself, so this week, I’m going to cut back on something– I’m not entirely sure yet which something it will be. I’m headed out of town for Annual Conference, so there’s a lot of work to be done up front– calls to make, online research to do, bulletins to print, long hours to burn– that makes it hard to swear off the internet or the iPhone or filling the gas tank or the coffee cup.

What about you? From what would you fast for a day or two? A practice? An item? A worry?

And speaking of worry, my husband is having a minor operation tomorrow afternoon, so I’m sure I’ll burn several hours considering the strengths and weaknesses of modern medicine rather than the clothing of the lilies of the field. Prayers of strength and courage will be appreciated! But that’s tomorrow, and for the next thirty five minutes at least, today’s troubles are enough for today.

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7 Responses

  1. It is good to take a holiday (fast) from the Internet now and then. Spontaneously shut the computer off, and get up from the desk, and live unplugged. It makes going back (if you do) that much easier to put into perspective.

  2. I personally gave up TV a while ago (6 months?) and life is much more peaceful and happy for me. Strangely enough, I also stopped wanting to “keep up with the Joneses” so much, and I stopped a lot of impulse buying. So not only am I happier, but my finances have improved! lol There’s some freedom for you.

    So … what can I fast from? Worry about work. That would be a good one to give up. Leaving work at work and just being home when I’m here.

    Wishing you peace in your busy lives,
    Namaste,
    Lina

    automaticlifechanges.com

  3. @saskboy, I think an internet fast is a great idea! It’s tough for me because it’s also a source of fun and relaxation. On my Sabbath day (mondays), I refrain from any and all websites that stress me out, including my denomination’s discussion boards and the news feeds.

    @alinaphoenix, I’ve found that even watching television with a TiVo/DVR and therefore fast-forwarding commercials, we stopped buying as much stuff. It’s amazing how much consumerism infiltrates our psyches! Fasting from worry is a big one, and I think central to what it means to leave a full and blessed life. I would say that even in general, with or without work, to ‘just be here’ is something I strive for, to be fully present in the moment, not thinking about what just happened or what will happen. When I can just be in the moment, I’m at my most peaceful and fulfilled. I had a moment like that last night, and it was wonderful.

  4. probably you can invest time in learning some art instead of checking mails and spending time with the computer

  5. Thanks for the comment on my blog Becca. I answered there but I thought I’d just repeat my reply here 🙂

    I loved it Becca! If your congregation was a bit closer (as in a couple thousand kms closer) I’d definitely pay it a visit 🙂
    I’ve actually listened to it a couple of times. I feel that one of the most neglected things in Christianity is that we were given stewardship of the earth, and with that comes the responsibility to look after it. As such Christian teachings should go hand in hand with sustainability, but more often than not they don’t.

  6. @FlintZA, thanks again for listening (more than once!).

    There is a movement that spans denominations and even bridges the liberal/conservative divide to make stewardship of the earth a top Christian issue. If one takes seriously either the claim that all that is is of God and is sacred or that God created the world (literally or metaphorically), then our task is clear– we need to include the earth and its inhabitants– animal, mineral, and vegetable– on our list of those who are ‘the least of these,’ the ones who can’t defend ourselves. In a vaguely panentheistic way, I believe the earth is God’s body too, and whatever we do to the earth, we do to god. Do we abuse, neglect and take for granted God, or do we reverence and honor and nurture God’s body?

    Add to that the fact that negative environmnetal conditions disproportionately impact those living in poverty, and it is clear that there are very few problems that are more pervasive, more threatening to the life and well being of all God’s children, more absolutely essential for the people of God to address than the problem of humanity’s impact on the earth.

    Blessings,
    Becca

    I’m following your lead and double-replying.

  7. “Add to that the fact that negative environmental conditions disproportionately impact those living in poverty, and it is clear that there are very few problems that are more pervasive, more threatening to the life and well being of all God’s children, more absolutely essential for the people of God to address than the problem of humanity’s impact on the earth.”
    If that isn’t a quotable quote, I don’t know what is! Looking at everything is [part] of God is an interesting way of seeing it, and definitely strengthens the argument for Christianity and environmentalism to have closer ties. I did listen to the other sermon, enjoyed that one too 🙂

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