Ordinary Time


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)


You will be betrayed by your parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, and friends. They will execute some of you. Everyone will hate you because of my name. Still, not a hair on your heads will be lost. By holding fast, you will gain your lives.

Luke 21:16-19


It is strange to think we might be persecuted or judged by those we love. We do know that Jesus was himself betrayed by someone he held as a dear disciple. Unfortunately, it is all too common in our society that folks are tormented or exiled by their friends and families. If not for our faith, it can be for something as arbitrary as who gets an inheritance or who gets a wedding invitation, to more serious causes, like who we vote for or the people we fall in love with.

We read today that Jesus has our back in these scenarios. Be patient, hold fast, and put your faith in God almighty, and not a hair on your head will be lost. The Greek word that is translated here as “hold fast” and sometimes as “be patient” speaks of a strong endurance, not a passive waiting.

As we trust in the future, despite all of life’s uncertainties, we must not sit idly by. Jesus calls us to act! Hold fast, all will be well.

Will Oxford


Lord, the pain is worst when I am hurt by those I love. Please keep watch over me as I endure this life through your love and grace. Amen.


… 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)