18th March 2020

“Do not worry about your life…… do not be afraid, little flock” ( from Luke 12 v 22ff)

These words are repeated time and again in the Bible. As someone who has often struggled with anxiety, I know just how easy those words are to say and yet how hard to believe and live! Nevertheless, I do know that when I take my worries and anxieties to God, I find help and strength to carry on-one step at a time.

 In our world today there is a huge amount of fear as we face the effects that this virus is having on the world as we know it. There is so much uncertainty and we are constantly being fed grim news, dire statistics and injunctions to do this or that to stay safe. Can I encourage you to keep turning your eyes upon Jesus at those moments when fear and panic grips you, to look at him and remember that He is with you and will give you all that you need if you will but ask. If prayer seems too difficult just simply say the name of Jesus and keep repeating it to yourself and you will find that after a while that  Jesus will calm and restore you so that you can take the next step in your day. 

The passage from the Sermon on the Mount that this text is taken from always makes me smile because of the image it conjures up. There is Jesus sitting on top of a mountain, surrounded by crowds and he looks up at the birds circling overhead and the flowers in the field around him and reminds his listeners that if God so looks after them, how much more will he look after us.

The painting below is a wonderful image of Christ examining carefully the daisies. Painted by Stanley Spencer in 1939 it shows Christ gazing intently at the simple daisies. He is giving them his total concentration and delighting in them. In just the same way I believe God looks at and delights in us.  Spencer has substituted daisies for lilies and that comforts me enormously because not only am I not a great fan of lilies but also because I feel far more like a small daisy! Apparently, Spencer’s inspiration came both from this text and from watching his baby daughter crawling about on the grass examining the flowers. Simple, childlike, loving attention. That is what Christ offers each of us-his loving gaze, his total concentration. 

May I encourage you today to look at the birds of the air and the flowers in your garden or park or home and remember what Jesus says each one of us.

Do not be afraid….

CREDIT: © THE ESTATE OF STANLEY SPENCER 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DACS Mountainous among the daisies: Christ in theWilderness: Consider the Lilies (1939) by
Stanley Spencer, in the State Art Collection, Art Gallery ofWestern Australia

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