8th Sunday after Epiphany
27 February 2011
St. John's, Chicago, IL
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
"Do not be anxious." Do not worry. Don't worry about how soon you can fulfill all the requirements to be an Eagle Scout. Don't worry about selling the most Girl Scout cookies. Do not worry what you will drink or eat or wear. Do not worry about earthly concerns.
"Do not be anxious.". Do not worry. No, not because you are following the motto, "Do your best," or "Be prepared." The reality is your best is not good enough, and you can never be prepared for absolutely everything to a perfect level.
"Do not be anxious." "Do not worry." "Let go and let God" -- that is what the expression says. But you know what? You can't! You can't let go. And nothing in you wants to hand anything over to God. You desire to handle it yourself. Most boys cannot wait to cross over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, because you get to have more fun, doing more for yourself. And people are like that in general. Even two year olds quickly learn, "I do it MYSELF!"
"Do not be anxious.". Do not worry. But you want to worry. It's even comfortable to worry. It is familiar. How sad that you and I are that mixed up, that worrying tries to soothe your sinful self.
But our dear Savior takes your anxiety and worry. He took these burdens from you and laid them on His own shoulders, carrying these burdens to His cross. Jesus removes these cares from you, lifting their weight from your shoulders.
"Do not be anxious.". Do not worry. Jesus gives you some true and lasting peace and comfort here. He cares for you. He provides your real needs of body and soul. He sustains you, and uses you as a living witness to His care and provision for His Church.
You do not deserve to be clothed so well, but your Father in heaven lavishes you with clothing. The flowers of the field are more beautiful than King Solomon in all his glory, and you are finer than the lilies of the field.
Not only does the Lord provide you with earthly clothing, but He graciously covers you in Holy Baptism with the robe of Christ's righteousness, which covers all your sin. Far better than Solomon's glory -- far better than the glory of flowers -- you are covered with Christ's glory. Your are clothed with Christ!
And do not worry about what you will eat. Don't worry if your fellow scouts can't cook that well, and your food on the campout will not be great. Don't worry if the pantry is not as full as it used to be. Your Father in heaven feeds even the birds. If He takes care of such little "unimportant" creatures, how much more will He provide for you and feed you! And not just with the food of this world. He gives you the Bread of life. He provides the Body and Blood of Jesus. He feeds you Jesus!
Jesus gives you comfort and assurance today. You do not need to worry and stress and doubt like unbelievers. Your Father in heaven has got your back. He clothes you and feeds you. He baptizes you and feeds you His Holy Supper.
"Do not be anxious." Do not worry. It is not a command that you are failing. It is soothing comfort from Jesus that the Lord is taking complete care of you. He is nurturing and providing for you so well, that there is no need to worry!
Thanks be to God, who clothes you with Christ and feeds you with Christ. Yes, you are clothed finer than Solomon and fed better than any creature. You are blessed as He frees you from anxiety and worry! Amen.