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Look at the grass

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I have been reading Paul's letter to the Colossians. The words are joyous, buoyant, effervescent, not the kind of correspondence you would expect from someone in prison. I suppose the words appeared especially bright and bubbly to me this past week because I found myself inexplicably dark and gloomy, not to mention negative, critical, and impatient. It is clear to me now that it was that old demon of control baiting me because, well, things are out of my control. Yes, people make mistakes, unexpected situations happen, and life has a tendency to be overwhelming and disappointing at the same time. But mostly, I believe the trigger was my current state of job limbo. It is scary. So, naturally, being impatient and complaining are the solution, somehow. Demons make no sense.

Anyway, there is nothing like a walk outside in the sunshine to put things in perspective, so I pointed my feet to the park and away we went, me and my irritations. I saw trees, I saw sky, I saw water. It was all good. And then I saw grass. Oh my, what lovely grass. The first grass I noticed was just under three feet tall, its tips soft and heavy with rows of pale seeds. It waved at me as I walked along the gravel path, and I greeted it with a jaunty Hello as I ran my hands through the thin stalks. A few steps further, the grass on the other side of the path beckoned. This grass was taller, its stalks thicker, its seeds more delicately formed in small clusters. I stopped to look at the grass, to really see it. I held it gently between my fingers for a moment, then ran my hand along the top of the grass patch. It felt like a gentle caress.

There were gardeners working in the park that day. Some were using hand-held trimmers, noisy and ruthless instruments. Another man was riding a large industrial mower. As I watched, he attempted a sharp turn around an evergreen tree on a steep incline and stalled the machine. I stopped to watch the scene for a few minutes. The gardener backed up, pulled forward, stalled again, got off the machine, said a few choice words, got back on the machine, started it up again, and stalled again. Oh grass and trees, you are so patient with those of us who trim and groom and try to manage your green growth. Even when our machines fail, you don't gloat or claim a victory. You just keep on waving in the breeze in all your vibrant green glory.

As I headed for home, I came upon some swaths of newly mown grass and I stooped down to touch the soft, damp piles. I took out my phone and tried to capture the many subtle variations of green displayed in that small patch of grass, but my camera wasn't up for the challenge. Oh, grass, what a wonder you are.

And then the grass preached a sermon.

Look at the grass in the field, in the park, all around you. The grasses are here now, but they will be gone soon, cut down, burned, discarded, dormant in winter. And yet, God clothes and colours them so radiantly. How much more will He clothe you and colour your life, you of little faith, you who have no trust? So do not consume yourselves with questions: What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? Where will we get a job? What about our finances? What about security? Others make themselves frantic over such questions because they don’t realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need. Search out first the kingdom of God, make it a priority to live according to God's economy and His way of making things right. Then you will find that these other small details fall into place and the worrying stops. That's right, you don't have to worry about tomorrow. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today, so do that. [1]

Thank you, grasses for teaching me that my first job every morning is to raise my hands high to the sky and thank the Creator. Whether it is rainy, sunny, windy, or snowy, I begin by thanking the Creator. Even if it is the day when the gardeners come to cut and weed and trim, I lift up my eyes and thank the Creator. Thank you for reminding me of my humble place in creation, that I have made none of this beauty and yet it is here for me to enjoy every day. God cares about each blade of grass in the field and every hair on my head. so there is never any need to be frantic or worry, no need to complain or be impatient. It accomplishes nothing. Standing up tall and waving my hands to the Creator, like you, lovely grass, do every day, that is participating in glory. That is faithfulness. That is surrender. 

[1] Matthew 6:30-34, my adaptation of The Voice translation.


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