(Psalm 46:10 GW)"
Listen: Bishop Paul S. Morton & PJ "Let Go, Let God"
This past week I've had several consultations. A young member of the church asked about how she could decrease her anxiety at school, which plagued her every day. A parent, planning for her empty nest, found her learned that her daughter lost her job, and needed to move back home. An older parishioner, caring for an elderly parent, came to the realization she could no longer provide that care at home, and was facing a mixture of feelings, from grief, numbness feeling like she was letting her father down. Another family faced unexpected bills stemming from a car accident. What bill will be paid? What can be put off? Wow, what a week it was.
This week, I'm sure gets repeated in churches, neighborhoods everywhere. We have a plan about the the way our life should go. Sometimes our plans seem to be working. Sometimes our plans just need adjusting. For a lot of people, though, our best made plans fall apart. We often respond with grief and anger.
We all know people who have had to let go of something. Each of us has had to let go of something along the way. The scriptures give us plenty of examples of people who faced the change of plans. From the great ancestors in faith: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob/Israel and Rachel/Leah, Joseph --- to Moses, Aaron and Miriam. The people of Israel would not have emerged and endured if these individuals and families didn't learn to change course -- let go of their plans and let God's plan work through them. Even Jesus chose a path that brought him repeated failure in the moment -- as he followed the journey that took him to the cross.
What do we learn from all this? One of the most important spiritual lessons we must learn is letting go of the illusion that we are in control of our lives. We are responsible for our actions, but the bottom line is that our lives belong to God. No matter what happens to us, we are called to surrender our lives to God, and let God reveal his glory through us, in us, as we learn to respond with faith and trust. The more we hang on to what no longer works or what no longer is possible we bring sorrow upon ourselves. Let it go. and let God.
Do you remember this story?
A zookeeper set a trap to catch a monkey. He used a narrow necked jar with the monkey’s favorite fruit inside. It didn't take long at all for the curious little monkey to come upon the jar that was strangely tied to a tree. The little primate stuck his hand in the jar in order to grab the fruit. His little monkey fist wrapped around the fruit he then went to pull his hand free and found he could not. With the fruit in hand his fist was simply too large to get past the narrow opening of the jar. Pull and pull the monkey did, but he simply couldn't get free.
Unwilling to let go of the fruit, his little monkey first remained stuck in the jar that was attached to a rope that was tied to a tree. The zookeeper simply untied the rope from the tree and led the little monkey to the zoo with his little monkey fist still tightly wrapped around what he simply wouldn't let go. So the monkey was caught because he wouldn't let go.
As we approach Holy Week, let us meditate on what we refuse to let go of.
What patterns of thinking or living no longer serve us?
What old habits keep us trapped?
Remember the words of the psalmist "Let go/Be still." Our God is sovereign of the universe. Surely God will guide our lives to shalom -- peace, wholeness, abundance of spirit. Let go.
Pray: "God you are in charge. Help me let go of my burdens, for you promised to carry them, and to help me. Teach me how to place my trust in you."