Beauty in balance

May 19, 2008

When Jesus talks about making wealth our “master,” sometimes he is
speaking to the peasants who may not have bread to eat, and at other
times he is speaking to the collaborators with the Roman Empire who are
able to accumulate wealth for themselves. Somehow he addresses both
groups simultaneously and leads them all toward the justice and peace
of the kingdom of God.

Jesus’
example of the lilies reminds us that there is an order in the apparent
chaos of creation. There is something organized about birds being fed
by bugs and seeds and worms, a pattern in the blooming of lilies and
the sprouting and dying of grasses. The falling rain and the rising sun
are part of cycles of existence. And we are too.

All of these
processes of life exist in relationship with other processes. When
Jesus says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what
you will drink, or what you will wear,” he doesn’t say don’t eat, don’t
drink, don’t dress yourself (or your children). He doesn’t say don’t
“do”; he says, “Don’t worry.” Jesus invites us to see in a different
way and to act differently because of it.

Let us consider the
lilies and King Solomon. King Solomon dressed like a king, with “glory”
in the form of expensive and precious fabrics, gems and metals. We can
easily think of him as beautiful and extravagant, and stunning. But
Jesus then draws our attention away from the king to the beauty of
simplicity, the beauty in the ordinary.

We walk by lilies
without noticing their form, their color or their symmetry, or thinking
about their dependence on the sun and soil. When we think about the
life of a lily in this way, we are drawn to another kind of beauty—the
beauty of relationship and interdependence.

Lilies exist in the
flow of the forces of life. They may not toil or spin, but they do turn
their blossoms toward the sun, and draw moisture into themselves
through their roots. This is a joyful striving.

Humans can do
this too. “Do not worry,” Jesus says, but he also says, “Strive.”
Strive without worry. Strive for life today. Strive for the things that
enhance the quality of life at the deepest level. See the beauty in
what you have, not in what you don’t have. Choose life enhanced by
simplicity and relationships

Consider the universe, where life
is choreographed; where rain, sun and soil come together to make a
flower; where earth, water and breath come together to make a human
being.