To Study or Not to Study?
Genesis 1:1-2:3; Matthew 6: 25-34
(Open with Singing)
“Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right! ”
Rise up this mornin’,
Three little birds, Each by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou: “) –Bob Marley
Don’t worry—when we find ourselves in moments seeing the sunrise, hearing the birds, and we notice creation around us, we catch a glimpse of not worrying—for a moment. But the freight train of life seems to barrel ahead and we miss the sunrise, we don’t notice the birds outside the doorstep. But they are there.
Don’t worry—because we are alive… Today, beginning with creation, God brings order from chaos. God creates, makes, forms, shapes, and triumphs… from nothing to something beautiful, and there is evening, and there is morning, and we are alive…
“Big bangs are not boring. Dinosaurs are not boring.” Oceans and mountains are not boring… Giraffes and Elephants and stuff form the State Fair on sticks are not boring… and the beauty today of baptizing Shanelle-Grace certainly is not boring… And this points to God…who brings order in such immense beauty…is surely not boring…and there is evening, and there is morning, and we are alive. 
In all that God creates, may we not lose sight of the wonder of the first and greatest miracle, ‘that anything exists at all, and that we get to be a part of it.’ Flowing water, beautiful sunrise, flickering flame, and each of us, you and me gathered here, now…
And the beauty that from nothing…God’s artistry brings light, and planets, and water…lots of life giving water, and plants that create plants, and animals that make animals, and you and me that continue to create more of you and me…all this begetting going on… ah…and rest. Order. Evening, and morning, aliveness…and it is good.
All of this…look around…as we shared in the Psalm today…God’s handiwork. All of it good. It’s poetry…it’s a grand masterpiece of a painting…the entirety of the order of creation, it is all good. Sky—good. Grass—good. Garden produce—good. You and me…life…breathe…aliveness… Life…Good.
I believe this is the juxtaposition that God is speaking today in our gospel passage… of bringing us back to the intent of the miracle of creation; the order that comes with instructions of being made in the image of God. To be made in the image of God is beautiful. And the dominion that is associated comes with the instruction to care for the oceans, the fish, the birds, the cattle, the creatures, the plants…every creeping thing—and each other. All called to nurture all of creation. Order. Relationships.
Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the goodness, the order, the time to rest. As God reminds us in poetry and art of bringing order from chaos, it is easy for our hearts to do the opposite; to make chaos from order.
“No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve God and money.” Or from the Greek—you cannot serve two lords. One brings order. Other brings chaos. And it’s a tough concept. How is the not worrying thing going for you? Especially in this day of 401k’s, insurance policies, our drive for getting ahead…
And this confronts us right where it hurts. Money itself isn’t bad. Success isn’t bad. I like how N.T. Wright says it: “There is such a thing as idolatry, and we must guard against it. Indeed, we must put it to death with pity. But idolatry is always the perversion of something good. Greed—worshipping the appetites and what they feed on—is the perversion of the God-given instinct for the proper enjoyment of the good creation.” Looking deep within may we ask, what (or who) do we serve? God or money? Success? What are we making our hopes and our dreams?
Do not worry is connected to the verse that says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where is our heart? The problem with living in a culture that is so focused on money and accumulation of wealth is that money is finite. There will never be enough. To pursue wealth as lord leads to a worldview of scarcity; of holding on to what is mine; and we are participants in the game of accumulation and building walls. There is a battle within us of turning towards God or turning towards that which is not God, and the desire for prosperity competes with God for the human heart. (As does fear—but this is a sermon for another day.)
But to go back to creation, to order, to light, sky, water, plants, animals, you, and me created in the image of God. We begin with a God that triumphs over the waters, life giving water. Trusting God, our worldview is one of abundance. To live in a worldview of abundance is to look outside of ourselves. Rather than money that is finite, we live into God’s love that is infinite. Rather than storing for ourselves, we are emptying ourselves for the other. To reshape, to live into a creation worldview is to trust that God will provide, and to trust that God will provide enables us to look outside of ourselves.
This transformation turns us back towards God, and we can see that we are connected and we better live as we are called to be as church. As church, we live as community—a communal element where we care for one another, and in turn, we are cared for ourselves, not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself. Do not worry…about clothes, food, how you look…it is something for us to work towards, something to long for. To work towards this, we begin to see that our desires change, our needs change, and we find what is most important—relationships. I am moved this week to be part of a community that shares both in the celebration of life of our dear friend, Sandy Scheibe, and the joy of baptizing Shanelle-Grace. Sandy helped teach a thing or two about not worrying—but about looking outside of ourselves. A brother-in-law shared that being with Sandy, she had the gift that could somehow make a bologna sandwich taste like a steak dinner.
A man traveled from Michigan for Sandy’s memorial service and came up front to share that as a young man, he struggled with addiction and was going through hard times. His life was chaos. But Sandy didn’t see him as addict, or as disposable. She saw him as a beautiful child made in the image of God—and she reached out by loving him. This, friends, is what it is to turn towards God—to live into creation.
Today we celebrate baptism. It is beautiful, but may we take this seriously. That uniting God’s triumph over the waters in creation, God’s triumph of reaching out to us when we feel so far away from God, and God’s triumph from the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan to a cross. Today, in Jesus baptism, we are making a promise and may we not take this lightly. A promise we make with Shanelle-Grace and Glory, and Charles, but more…a promise that we make for all of those baptized—that we will care for, and nurture, and be there when no one else is. This my friends is how we can strive for not worrying—that together, we can make the road by walking and living as the kingdom of God. Amen