Lenten Devotional 2021: Day 26

Sunday, March 14 – By Rev. Maya Landell

Why We Worry, Why We Judge? Matthew 6:19-17:12

When I was doing some mental health training last year, a therapist taught us that before we enter a new situation, a time of leadership or if we notice our blood pressure rising we should HALT. Pause and ask yourself: am I HUNGRY, am I ANGRY, am I LONELY, am I TIRED?

These all have an impact on our well-being, our ability to be present to what’s actually going on in the room, and our listening skills. All four of these states increase the chance we will respond with an anxious, reactive, judgemental response. We do have the ability to control these states. While we don’t have control over a lot in our lives; we do have control over our feelings and our actions. Both of these are also affected by worry.

As Brian D. McLaren writes in We Make the Road by Walking, “We worry about things beyond our control and we miss the things that are within our control. If you’re anxious about your life, you won’t enjoy or experience your life – you’ll only experience your anxiety. So to be alive is to be on guard against anxiety” (p. 140). This is not medically diagnosed anxiety, this is communal anxiety that is affecting all of us, and throughout the pandemic has sometimes felt like the air we breathe.

I think this is what Jesus is getting at in this part of the Sermon on the Mount, he’s inviting us to reflect on why we worry. And in response to these actions why we judge. He is calling out the things we worry about, and the places that fear takes us. All of which take us away from being present to the moment of now.

Today, take time to write down your worries, not as a list, but as a prayer. Pray them into God’s unconditional love, the One who cares for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air cares for each of us. Draw out of the prayer what you need for right now. Christ is calling us to trust God, to take a step and see what is being provided for us, individually and communally in a new way.

May these words of scripture guide your prayers today:
“Ask and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8