I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it was taught, and if not how shall I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows can do it and I am, well, hopeless …

from “I Worried” by Mary Oliver (2010)

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Then Jesus said to them, “Nations and kingdoms will fight against each other. There will be great earthquakes and wide-scale food shortages and epidemics. There will also be terrifying sights and great signs in the sky. But before all this occurs, they will take you into custody and harass you because of your faith. They will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will provide you with an opportunity to testify. Make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance. I’ll give you words and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to counter or contradict.”

Luke 21:10-15

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I don’t know about you, but I must’ve missed the harassment portion of my Sunday school lessons! In all seriousness, it’s scary and uncomfortable to hear what Jesus is telling his disciples, but I don’t think we signed up to be Christians because it is a comfortable religion. There are times in all our lives when our faith will be put on the line – if we’re living out a truly Christian life. That might happen if we’re participating in a protest or simply when we help someone who is not easy or enjoyable to help.

I am reminded of Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopal seminarian who was murdered in 1965 in Alabama by a deputy while in the act of shielding 17-year-old Ruby Sales. He saved the life of the young black civil-rights activist. They both were working in the civil rights movement to integrate public places and register voters that summer.

I doubt the 26-year-old had imagined he’d die that summer, but I do think he trusted enough in his faith and savior to take that step, saving a young girl’s life.

Will Oxford

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Lord, this world is scary and dark. Your love is the light that keeps me moving forward. Make me a light for others, an example of your love for all. Amen.

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… Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

from “I Worried” by Mary Oliver (2010)

Will Oxford

Will Oxford lives in New Haven, CT with his wife Heidi and their two beautiful cats. Will works at a local grocery store, ministering to the people of the world by being a smiling face and listening ear, as well as serving up free cups of coffee.

Kinderszenen, Op. 15: 7. Träumerei

Garry Bailey

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