Troubling comfort

“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

Today’s Daily Office reading does not promise that “all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well” (Julian of Norwich). Instead, it promises trouble. Cold comfort?

Yet it is comforting, because it does not invite us to pretend otherwise. It is not wishful, pie-in-the-sky thinking. It does not advocate faith in fairytales. It comes at the end of an exhortation to trust God, because God knows our needs, and God provides for all of God’s creation; and it acknowledges the reality of the crises that hit creation. God is the in trouble with us.

“Strive first for the kingdom of God,” advises Jesus. Don’t worry about tomorrow; don’t obsess over what could go wrong, about how your strivings, your prayers and proclamations will be received. Bring the gospel to bear on today’s troubles, and let the chips fall where they may.

(If your vocation is to be President of the United States, then stating an affirmation of marriage between loving gay men and lesbian women without regard to the polls, might, for example, fit the bill.)

Speak love to the alienated, freedom to the oppressed, blessings to the despondent, without fear or favour, one day at a time.

On a more microscopic note, every time I read this verse, I am transported back to Carlisle, England, in May 2006 (one of the blessings and liabilities of a recurring lectionary cycle). My mother was in that space where body and soul argue back and forth about whether they are living or dying. Today’s troubles were, indeed, enough for that day, and tomorrow would, indeed, bring its own worries.

How liberating, then, to receive that word of release: let tomorrow loose. Seek the kingdom today. Kiss your mother, hold your father, hug your children; love today, and let tomorrow bring on its own worries, because God will still be there, knowing your needs before you ask, loving you into being, one day at a time.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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