August 23 Reflections

A scout is a soldier or other person sent out ahead to gather information about either an enemy’s, or teams, or places strength, position, or movements.  Or simply it is someone who searches for something or someone in various places. For instance, someone might be sent out to scout around for the best place to park the camper. These scouts go out to help make the future a little less anxious for the group. There are a couple of scouts however, that are not helpful to you and me in our walk of faith. The scouts of worry and anxiety.

These scouts are off in the future. They really do run ahead of reality. When they return, they tell tales of giants, insurmountable odds, and worst-case scenarios. For instance, if I have an ache in my side the scouts of worry and anxiety fly off into the future, totally removed from reality, and tell me, you have a big battle ahead of you; it is either cancer, heart or lung disease, it is going to be awful. You are not going to survive. When in reality I strained a muscle lifting the lawn mower out of the vehicle.

It is so easy to let our minds and hearts run ahead of reality. Instead of sinking into the moment of now and simply living. The Message translates Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:34 this way, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Let God fill this moment; experience this moment fully and completely. The Israelites in the wilderness were asked to do this: trust God for this moment, today. Do not run ahead of yourselves. Manna will be here today. Tomorrow there will be more. Trust do not hoard today. In the past few month’s toilet paper has been hoarded, Lysol spray and disinfectant wipes have been hoarded. What if Covid 19 strikes and we are quarantined?  Hoarding is a lack of trust. Trust in a God who provides today.

A spiritual practice that has been so powerfully used in my life is mindfulness. There is a significant amount of literature and videos that talk about this spiritual discipline. It is about disciplining yourself to shut out the noise of the world and sink into God’s filling this moment. Not rushing ahead or dwelling in the past but sinking into the right now. The fullness of now. I can be out on a run in the morning and thinking about the past or the future, actually obsessing about it, and miss the moon (yes when I run the moon is usually still out) or the stars, the meteor shower, the clouds, the birds singing, the cardinal or the woodpecker pecking, the deer that runs across the path, or the skunk I want to avoid, the wild flowers, rabbits and squirrels, the sunrise just as it begins to come up with all its nuances as clouds surround it, the freshness of the morning, the breeze as it touches my face. God, I believe, wants us to live now, not in the past with unresolved guilt or nostalgia, or in the future with worry and anxiety. But in the fullness of now. That is what we are going to think about on Sunday as we continue in the Exodus story of the Israelites set free and living in the wilderness. Trusting God for “now.” Some passages to read and reflect upon: Exodus 16; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Matthew 6:25-34 .  

Grace upon Grace,                                                                                                 

Pastor Verlyn