Monday, January 19
for Sunday, January 25, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany
READ: 1 Corinthians 7.29-31 “grown short”
REFLECT: On my first reading of this passage, I thought about things that naturally grow short – like certain breeds of dogs that don’t need grooming or grass that doesn’t need mowing. And then I longed for something else to grow short that doesn’t: my cat’s nails.
Cyrus, my 14-year old rescue, has one nail that grows at an abnormal rate. It’s tricky at best to trim his nails by myself. Recently, I noticed this nail had become overgrown, though I didn’t think it was yet ingrown. For days I employed different strategies to get to that nail. I would go to sleep at night envisioning different ways to try to hold him, wrapped in a towel this way or that, trying to trim that one nail. But he was becoming increasingly stressed and agitated, and so was I. A week later, I finally got him to the vet. It took three of us in the room: one to hold, one to soothe, one to trim. As I suspected, it was not ingrown. I was relieved, but the entire experience left both Cyrus and me traumatized.
Reflecting on this episode, I was amazed at how much energy could be expended over something as small as a cat’s pedicure. It reminded me of the saying “energy flows where attention goes.”
Reading on and praying through this passage, the phrase, “the present form of the world is passing away” floated to the surface. As worn and overused as questions like “if this was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?” are, it did make me wonder about how much time and how much mental and emotional energy I spend worrying about things. Of course I need to care for my cat. But that doesn’t mean I need to obsess over it. A certain degree of stress induces action. But worry without action has a way of turning inward. It could have been simpler. I could have noticed the problem, tried to do something about it, and when that was unsuccessful, decide on plan B. Once that decision was made, I could have been free to turn my attention (and energy) to other things.
RESPOND: God, I think sometimes we equate worry with care and think that more worry equals more care. Forgive us for this misguided logic and help us resist the temptation to worry without action.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus invites his listeners to consider the lilies of the field. They do not worry and yet all they need has been provided. Their existence is made simple and lovely. What things are demanding your attention and draining your
energy? How might your life be made more simple if you began to practice letting go of the obsessive kind of worry?
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
Jonah 3.1-5, 10
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide by Audrey Hindes for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.