From The Rectors Desk - September 7, 2018
Billy Graham once said “Take one day at a time. Today, after all, is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.” This reflects the truth of our Lord’s words from the sermon on the mount; “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
Worry is the devil’s device designed to rob us of peace and joy. It has been said, worrying is like racing the engine of the car while leaving it in neutral, it makes noise, burns gas and yet gets us nowhere. Our Lord saw the futility of this practice when he asked the question; “can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27.
The answer of course is no. Indeed, worry is proven to have many adverse and negative physiological effects. Several years ago an article in Psychology Today listed the adverse effects of stress on the body. Stress causes increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Stress depresses our immune system making it difficult for the body to fight off all sorts of diseases. Stress reduces the protective fluids in the lining of the digestive system causing ulcers and digestive problems. Stress changes blood chemistry and increases risk of diabetes. Chronic stress impairs the formation of new fast growing cells and reduces the ability to form some new memories. At high levels stress literally dumbs you down. Stress also depresses fertility. The science is clear, stress is a real danger to our physical, spiritual and emotional health.
Stress and worry over the long term do not add anything to life they actually rob us of life, but, thanks be to God, our Lord provides us with a prescription that is both a preventative and a cure for worry. It is prayer. Jesus says; “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. Prayer is a powerful cure for worry and the sorrows of a soul. We read in the Scriptures; “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 Prayer overcomes worry and produces peace which guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The prophet Isaiah declares, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4 Instead of worrying thoughts we are encouraged to think upon the Lord. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
In this world which longs for peace, among people who long for peace and long to be free from guilt, worry and anxiety. Let us fulfill our roles as faithful ambassadors of Christ and share the good news of the Gospel of peace. Making known to those in need that freedom from worry, sin and guilt is found when we find ourselves in Christ, in relationship with the Lord, who loves us unconditionally. A relationship which begins, grows and flourishes by and through a life of prayer with the Lord. Being rooted and staying connected to Christ is so important that for centuries the Church has incorporated a blessing to this effect at the end of each worship service. A blessing I pray for all those reading our parish newsletter this day. “May the peace of God which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord: And the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you this day and always.
Yours in Christ,