Consider the Lilies, If You Can

August 1, 2012

Excerpt from Matthew 6:25-34

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these."

Reflection by Martin B. Copenhaver

This is the time of year when I begin to cross items off my to-do list.  Not that I have accomplished them.  I just cross them off.

I have a tendency to approach the summer as if it is the repository of all that I have not accomplished during the year.  I imagine that in the summer I will have time to clean my closets, organize my files, and write those articles that are soon due, and so much more.  In this scenario, summer is time to catch up.

But here it is August 1, mid-point of the summer, and I am beginning in earnest to cross items off my to-do list.  Most of them aren't going to get done again this summer.  It happens almost every year—summer starts out about work and ends up being about grace.

To be sure, we still have work to do in the summer, but summer was made for more than work.  It is a time to let the rhythms of the year slow down to the pace of an adagio.  It is for relishing God's creation and the company of others.  It is for lying back in God's arms, if even for a moment.

I gather the literal translation of Sabbath is, "a time for quieting the heart."  At its best and truest, summer is like that also.

Poet Emily Dickinson confessed that, of all the commandments, the only one she was able to keep is, "consider the lilies." 

I wish I had her confidence.  I don't always consider the lilies.  But in the summer, I come close.  It begins with crossing items off my to-do list.  They can wait, and the lilies cannot.

Prayer

God, help me receive the blessings of this season with a quieted and grateful heart.

About the Author
Martin B. Copenhaver is Senior Pastor, Wellesley Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the author, with Lillian Daniel, of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: the Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers.

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