“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything…" -- Philippians 4:4-6a
Up north where I come from, everybody hunkers down for winter. The trees look dead. Flower bulbs harden and freeze. Critters curl in upon themselves far underground, waiting. Neighbors wave with mittened hands, crisp greetings suspended in fog on winter air.
Further south, the daffodils already open, buds popped out on trees not yet leafing. Here in the far south, nature splashes its bougainvillea reds and key lime greens with abandon like some impressionist painter gone mad.
it’s difficult to experience anxiety at 80 degrees. When human skin warms and glistens, the spirit relaxes. It’s a curious thing for those of us northerners whose internal clocks experience confusion in the tropics. I still leave the house in a down jacket at the slightest graying, as if a blizzard might overtake me at any moment. I keep a wool hat, gloves and a blanket in the trunk of the car, just in case.
Learning to trust that the world is safer than we think takes practice. We look at the sky, anxious, until we trust that clouds on the horizon don’t always mean fierce storms. We test the waters before each swim, expecting three minutes to hypothermia and certain death.
Regardless of your latitude this second week of Lent, God has whatever you’re up against or whatever is up against you. If there’s something you can do about the situation that worries you, go do it. If there isn’t, say your prayers, trust, and let go. Whatever grips your late winter heart, close your eyes, lean up against a palm tree, and experience the real or imagined warmth of the almost springing sun upon you. Trust that all manner of things, by the grace of God, really shall be well.
Prayer: Holy One, maker of heaven and earth, of all that was, is, or ever will be, help me to trust you more fully today. You know what grips me, what wakes me, and what disturbs my rest. Just for today, I give it wholly to you. Give back to me tomorrow, whatever it is that you want me to carry, and leave the rest to you. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Interim Senior Minister
The Community Church of Vero Beach