31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
June 11, 2017
Psalm 104:24-25, 27-28, 30-34
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
Our summer worship series is called “Finding God Everywhere,” and it was born out of my son seeing The Jungle Book’s “The Bear Necessities”. He could not stop singing it – although all he could remember was “The bear necessities, the bear necessities.” ~He’s four.
Then, he wanted me to sing it, and the best I could do was add “the simple bear necessities” so of course I had to google the lyrics so I could sing them to him.
And as I sang the words over and over again, it got me thinking about the passage Donna just read from Matthew where Jesus tells us not to worry about what we will eat or what we will drink or what we will wear because God will provide our bare necessities.
You may never have thought about this Disney song having anything to do with God. You may not have ever thought about any Disney movie or song having to do with God, but God’s glory is all around us – in a particularly gorgeous sky, in a song on the radio, in a children’s book, in a Disney movie, in one another.
So much of our ordinary, mundane world reminds us of the extraordinary Creator who made it and us all, so this summer, we are going to celebrate the poems, songs, stories, movies, books, etc that inspire our relationships with God, that nurture our connections with God – Beginning with “The Bear Necessities”
Jesus said, “do not worry.” (Matthew 6:25). I’m sure he wasn’t the first and he certainly wasn’t the last. Bobby McPharin sang, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and Tori Kelly all sang “Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing.”
There are lots of people who tell us not to worry. There are others who tell us what to do about our worry, but I don’t know about you, it doesn’t matter how much time I spend on the treadmill, doing yoga, or sitting in mindful meditation. I still worry.
Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns” or pantries or basements or storage facilities and yet God takes care of them. God provides for their bare necessities.
There is a growing trend in our country to go “tiny”, to downsize your home, lighten your load, so you don’t have to worry about paying rent or a mortgage, so you don’t have to worry about having so much stuff.
I’m pretty sure though that even tiny home owners and those who are living off the grid and off the land, have their own share of worries.
Jesus’ words, this scripture passage, is not about eliminating worry and anxiety from our lives. Neither is it about eliminating worry by downsizing to basic needs – although that is an interesting conversation – what are our basic needs, our bare necessities?
Neither of those though are what this passage is about. While on the surface, Jesus’ words seem to be about worry and bare necessities, this scripture passage is actually about trusting God. This passage is really asking ‘Do we trust that God knows what we need?’ need, not want, and ‘Do we trust that God will provide what we need?’
Do we trust that God knows what we need?
Do we trust that God will provide what we need?
Trust, reliance on the integrity, strength, ability of a person or thing, is difficult to build, and as you might know so well, trust can be wiped out in a moment.
Trust, reliance on another, dependence on another, takes time. It takes building a relationship.
Trusting that God knows what we need, trusting that God will provide what we need – it all begins with having a relationship with God.
It begins with noticing God’s presence, being aware of God’s actions, seeing God’s Spirit moving in the world.
Jesus says “look, consider, be aware of how God works”. God takes care of the birds and flowers and grasses, and you are just as, if not more, precious to God than they.
Look. Consider. Be aware of how God works, and based on that, trust that God loves you. Trust that God will provide for you.
The one who wrote psalm 104 trusted God. They fully depended and relied on God. They were aware of God’s working in the world, how God created everything.
The writer knew that everything and everyone God created “all look to [God] to give them food in due season” and God provides. God opens God’s hand, and God’s creation is filled with good things. God sends forth God’s spirit, and God’s creation is renewed. (Psalm 104:24, 27, 30)
The one who wrote psalm 104 not only trusted God; they sang their joy at being able to rely on God for their basic needs and so much more. That’s the kind of relationship the writer had with God, one of such trust that they knew to the depth of their soul that God knows what we need and God provides what we need.
We have all come here this morning with very different relationships with God. On one end of the continuum, some of us have such a strong relationship with God that we talk to God all day long, giving thanks to God for everything in our lives, trusting God to provide what we need.
On the other end, there might be those of us who don’t have any relationship with God, who are not even sure God exists, so how can we trust in God to provide for us.
No matter where we are on that continuum, though, Jesus’ words are for all of us. “Look. Notice. Consider”. Be aware of God’s glory all around us. Open our eyes to see how our Creator is still speaking and still providing for us, in ordinary, mundane ways, in extraordinary, miraculous ways.
Live in God’s love, and perhaps we will worry a little less and sing a bit more, rejoicing in the God who provides for our bare necessities and so much more.