Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Considering the Lilies

One day last week I stopped into a pharmacy that seemed as though it was in the middle of an inventory, was a few days from closing, or had just undergone an earthquake.  The place was filthy.  One register was open and staffed by an angry, tired, and probably underpaid employee.  As I stood in the line with nine other people, the only thing that kept me from joining in the complaining and muttering was that I was wearing a collar and at least looked like a priest (even if my internal disposition was anything but priestly).  And then I saw something that changed my mood.  Over to the side of the chaos, inefficiency, and grumpiness, there were Easter lilies.

While I’m sure this is not good news for local florists, I’ve been surprised this year that Easter lilies seem to be everywhere.  They are at the hardware store, in the grocery store, and all kinds of other places. As I stood in line at the pharmacy I realized that I could make a decision.  I could be peeved that everyone was racing toward a cultural celebration of Easter, missing the point of a Holy Lent.  Or I could do what Jesus says and “consider the lilies.”        

Jesus says, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on” (Mt. 6:25).  I think Jesus offers this list of possible worries as representative, not exhaustive.  The Spirit of Christ elaborates, “Do not be anxious about your work situation, or your relationship issue, or your retirement, or your savings, or your children, or your aging parents….” Do not be anxious, Jesus says, because God will take care of you.

“Look at the birds . . . Consider the lilies,” Jesus says.  Among the many messages of Easter, one of the most helpful for me is that Easter is about the power of God—the power of God to take care of us and all creation, the power to turn what was old into something new, and the power to carry us into life eternal.  Earthly anxieties will tug at us as long as we are on this side of heaven, but with Easter eyes, we can see beyond whatever troubles and worries us and have faith in God who raises from death to new life.
An article for the All Souls Weekly, April 8, 2012

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