‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them… And why do you worry about clothing? 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. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you… But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(From the Gospel of St. Matthew chapter 6v25-33, abridged)
We’ve certainly discovered in recent weeks just how much people are indeed concerned with what they will eat, as well as how their hair looks, and perhaps – now that we’re moving into the summer season – also with what they will wear. So we must all in fact be pagans, just as our reading this morning suggests!
And, from the images portrayed in this morning’s service of the beautiful flowers of the field, we must surely all recognise that Solomon in all his glory was indeed ‘not clothed like one of these’.
Jesus undoubtedly understood that as human beings we are, in fact, concerned with food and clothing and much else besides. And I don’t believe that Jesus was saying these things are inconsequential. But he had himself moved beyond this being his primary concern. For Jesus, the nature of his relationship with his heavenly Father; his harmony with God was before all things. Out of that relationship flowed his urgent concern to bring us and all things into that harmony; to restore creation to that perfection that had once existed, in the first days, reflected in the opening chapters of Genesis. And although this is a big ask for us, and at present lies beyond the capacity of all but a few noble souls, yet it is a goal worth setting before our eyes; something worth reaching for.
Scripture is full of the mark of God’s creation. Not only in the human story, but in the form of all God’s creatures. From the very beginning, God’s concern has rested upon the whole of creation, even though his eye has settled particularly on you and me, who are made in his image. And if God’s eye has settled on us, and if – as the Bible says – we are made in the image of God, then our duty, our obligation must be for all God’s world, for the creatures that inhabit it, and for the natural landscape.
So let us join in the song of creation, and get creative, after the example of God.