Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Anxious and Worried

I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about the newest game, Pokemon GO. There are many various opinions about whether it is a fun game which endeavors to get people off their couches and out to get some activity in their lives or that’s it’s an evil scheme to bring harm to children and families. I'm not discussing the pros and cons, but I'm amazed at the things that create instantaneous crazes. It's said that Pokémon GO is the most popular mobile game in American history. In one week’s time, there were over 15 million downloads of the game. The app instructs players to use their mobile devices to catch Pokémon characters in the real world. It has sent multitudes of people into streets, parks, malls and even my church parking lot looking for such virtual creatures.

It seems one of the main reasons for the popularity of Pokémon GO is that it provides a distraction from a world that lives in anxiety and worry about the frightening atrocities that have been happening.

Sunday’s scripture reading at my church was from Luke 10:38-42 – the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha’s home. If you’re a server, by nature, like I am, you can only imagine what that meant: clean the house…to spotless, get out the best dishes, and go shopping so you can serve your personal best meal. I’d be busy for days getting my menu perfected. So, yes, I have a tendency to side in with Martha’s angst about her sister who was just sitting at the feet of Jesus while she did all the work. Mary was grasping hold of every word Jesus spoke. He was the royal Guest of Honor and she didn’t want to miss a thing He had to say or even a moment to be with Him.

On the other hand, dear Martha was feverishly getting all the fixin’s ready to serve His her Lord a meal that could satisfy Him beyond description, and give Him the honor He deserved.

Father Bryan V. Brooks gave me a new perspective about that story. He talked about “Discipleship in our active, daily life.” He went on to say, “When Jesus addressed Martha about her busy-ness, He didn’t speak to her about her hospitality. He said 'You’re ANXIOUS and WORRIED about MANY things. There is only the need for one thing.' Anxious and worried. Not only does it fit the description of Martha , but it describes us as well. We live in anxious times – war, violence, terrorism, politics, unemployment. And these don’t include day-to-day worries about family, work, raising children, caring for a home, running a business, caring for elderly parents, balancing family and budgets. No wonder people seek distractions in sports, in games, in looking for Pokemon GO figures in church parking lots (our church was a location where people gathered at 4 am in the morning to find the creature). The anxiety and worry can have a way of throwing things out of balance – like with Martha. Jesus gives Martha and us a gentle correction in wisdom on how to be His disciples. The one thing to be concerned about is to “listen to Jesus”. Welcoming and accepting Jesus – Jesus as the Christ – Jesus as Lord. THIS is "THE ONE THING that is necessary" – to be His disciples. Disciples where busy-ness and duty is replaced with acts of joy and love. If we have our life in the right order – everything else will fall into place. Our relationship with Jesus will bring to completion the Word of God – Christ in us – the hope of glory. In that order, we’ll live and become faithful disciples of Jesus."

Then, no ANXIETY or WORRY will ever DISTRACT us from what’s most important – sitting at the feet of Jesus, being in the presence of Jesus in awe of Him and His holiness. When we are there, peace and comfort abounds.