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Presbyterian Church (USA)

In Our Congregations

A Field Trip with God
By the Rev. Matthew Reeves

On a recent late Sunday afternoon, twenty-some members of the Christ Church community met at one of Geauga County’s parks, The Rookery, for a “Field Trip with God.” Before we set out to walk or, in the case of some, to run or scurry over the old Interurban Railroad line that is now a path through wetlands and hardwood forest, we listened to Jesus’ admonition to his disciples

from the Sermon on the Mount:


Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? (Mt 6:25-27).


Then we walked amidst birds and dragonflies, flowers and grass, and hardwoods and ferns that Jesus may well have lifted up to his disciples had he been preaching in Geauga County. As the heat began to wane in early evening, we emerged from the trail hungry, thirsty, and eager to tuck in to our picnic dinners.


For us that may be overstocked with food and clothing, Jesus’ words concerning worry over these might seem almost quaint and inapplicable. To some modern worry is over more nebulous things than food or clothing––terrorism, attacks, security, racial division. These have somehow with the concrete things of life but for some, though not all, felt in the gut more indefinably than specifically as with physical hunger.


Still, as I walked at The Rookery the day following the horrible Bastille Day attack in France and hours after ambush murders of police officers in Baton Rouge, Jesus’ exhortation to look at the birds and see…the flowers seemed to have the concrete impact I believe Jesus intended: I found my attention resting on where I was, which is where God was. Not on nebulous heart seizing what-ifs of the future but the heart freeing it-is of the present: it is the case that where I am, God is, caring for me, for us, ruling all things in sovereign love despite what may seem to be ruling the headlines.


Since Christians should not stop looking at the news––we must believe in, pray for, and work for the good of the world as it really is––we need to heed Jesus’ call to attend to the small illustrations of God’s rule in the world. The grass. The birds. The leaves. Dappled shadow beneath a tree. Our notice of these nurtures big faith that God is at work for good in the world and in our lives, and frees us to become part of God’s goodness expressed on earth. So says Jesus whose big faith in God and exhibition of God’s good reign may have been sustained by the very practice he commends to us.

God be with you this summer,

 

Matt Reeves, Pastor
Christ Presbyterian Church 

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