“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Jesus, Matthew 6:34
The First Coast is about to be hit by another hurricane. Matthew last year. Irma this year. Matthew was not a direct hit, but it made a bit of a mess. Irma won’t hit directly either, but has, and is promising to outdo her predecessor in so many ways. But it’s more than a day away. And today we’re enjoying the calm before the storm. Or maybe we’re enduring the anxiety and hype before the storm.
On days like this, I am grateful to be connected to others in missional community. I’d like to tell you we’re walking around like spiritual giants of peace, but I can’t. Really we’re just staying connected, loosely but intentionally. We’re a little anxious. We’re prayerful. We’re trying to love our neighbors and each other through the distraction. We’re praying for one another and for our friends and neighbors. We are aware of each other’s plans and of each other’s family members who are more likely to be in harm’s way. There have been some text-conversations. Heather and her Saturday morning Bible study group were able to serve a friend by taking care of some things in their house. I took a walk around the neighborhood, which revealed that most of our neighbors are staying. (We do not live in an evacuation zone). It looks like all the preparations have been made, too. That doesn’t mean we’re prepared for whatever happens, but I think we’re pretty reasonably prepared. I could sum it up this way: it’s a non-relaxing long weekend characterized by a waiting. And maybe some worrying, too.
Just a word about worry. I know that Christians aren’t supposed to worry. Jesus said not to. But I worry from time to time. Every honest follower of Jesus I’ve known well does, too. But worrying can steal our time, our joy, and our life. It can steal it from those around us, too. Worrying can be contagious. Prayer helps. Thanksgiving helps. Community can help if they are willing to pray and give thanks with you. Being a “non-anxious presence” reduces the anxiety in others. Watching the news all the time, telling and retelling my worries to other worried people – that doesn’t help. So I think I’ll go outside and try to make the most of the moment. Because for now, it’s not raining. For now, it’s not windy. That will change. But for now, I think I’ll take the dog out for a walk. (He doesn’t seemed worried at all. He is a steady, non-anxious presence). I wonder who’s outside this evening in my neighborhood. Maybe I could strike up a conversation. Maybe I could use the time to build community a bit. Who knows, I may bump into someone who could use a hand, who would benefit from a smile or a listening ear and a word of prayer. Maybe before the storm I can extend some grace and mercy to someone who needs it – and receive some grace and mercy, too.
May you experience grace and mercy tonight – and tomorrow!