3/22/20 – “Cleaning Up Our Spiritual Rooms: The Bedroom – Finding Comfort and Healing in Times of Worry”

Posted on : Mar 19th, 2020 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Join Us This Sunday March 22
11:00 AM for
West Hollywood UCC Online Worship
Distance Won’t Keep Us Apart!

Instructions for Joining:

Time: Mar 22, 2020 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Click the Link Below to Join the Online Worship:
https://zoom.us/j/595240533

Dial one of the numbers below if you are joining by phone only.
+1 253 215 8782 US
+1 301 715 8592 US

You will be prompted to enter the meeting ID:  595 240 533 followed by #.

 

~REFLECTION~

What a different situation we find ourselves in in the past two weeks since we were last able to worship together as a congregation on March 7.  It seems our world has turned completely upside down. Little did we know the changes we would have to make in practically everything we do.  COVID-19 has altered our world and we’re not sure what the outcome will be.

This Sunday as we observe our 4th Sunday in Lent we will be connecting together as a congregation in an online setting since we won’t be able to worship together in person at West Hollywood UCC. More details and instructions about our e-Worship will follow in this email.

We’re also going to continue our Lenten series on “Cleaning Up Our Spiritual Rooms.”  This week we will look at the bedroom.  This had been the subject planned for this Sunday even before coronavirus disrupted things and the topic and scripture couldn’t be timelier.  Unlike the living room and the kitchen which are more public rooms in our house the bedroom is personal space.  It’s where we retreat at night to sleep and rejuvenate after a long day.  It’s the place where we find warmth and comfort.  It’s also the place we stay when we are sick and it is often in this room, we find ourselves worrying the most thus causing us to lose sleep.  I would guess many of us are experiencing that reality at the moment.   Am I going to contract the virus and if I do will I survive?  How am I going to pay my bills if I’m unable to work?  How can I help my children get over their fears?   Is my home equipped for them to learn remotely?  Am I equipped to teach my children at home?  Can I get the food and supplies we need to survive?  How am I going to deal with the loneliness from the social isolation?

This week’s scripture from Matthew’s gospel are familiar words of Jesus where he tells his listeners not to worry.  In matter-of-fact language he tells them that it will do no good at all to worry so why should they start feeling anxious.  As I was reading the scripture in preparation for this week’s reflection I wanted to shout at Jesus   “It’s easy enough for you to say that because you’re God.  Besides, you never had to deal with a global pandemic that is threatening civilization”.  In reality, however, Jesus and his listeners knew pain and suffering in real ways.  They lived under a religious theocracy with its strict rules that could mean physical punishment and even execution if those rules were broken.  They also lived under a global dictatorship headed in Rome where foreign soldiers were ever present in their country to make sure no one was out of line or attempted to disrupt the “Peace of Rome”.  Trying to stay alive and feed one’s family was an everyday reality for them as well.

These words of Jesus are found in the collection of teachings in Matthew’s gospel known as the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus, after being surrounded by a large crowd of followers, goes up onto a mountain and begins to teach them.  Most of the Sermon is an admonition to follow the Law but in new ways and not in the manner they have been traditionally taught to obey them.  In the middle of these teachings Jesus utters these words of comfort.  If you read our scripture in the context of the entire Sermon on the Mount it seems out of place as if Jesus suddenly changes direction from teaching to comforting the people gathered.  I think in many ways these words are befitting for us in our current situation when our lives have suddenly been changed and we need the immediate words of Jesus to help us make sense of this chaotic world.  So, as we read and reflect on our scripture may we take heart in what Jesus has to say to us and may we find comfort and peace we so desperately need now.

 

Matthew 6:25-34
Do Not Worry

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?   Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your God in Heaven feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?   and can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?   And why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed our God in Heaven knows that you need all these things.  But strive first for the realm of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

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

 

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