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January 29

Matthew 6, 25-30

Something to read

'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

What we know is that providing for life's necessities is costly. What we know is that too many millions of our sisters and brothers never get to taste the best of life because their circumstances ensnare them within the very least of life; scratching a living from harsh ground and existing on the scraps they can find.

Christian Aid exists, after all, because all is not well and too many have too little whilst too much gets stuck in the lives and stomachs of too few. There are deep, deep wells of injustice and ruin that countless people have to draw bitter drink from every day. It is evil and it is deadly.

Knowing this, we know that caring matters and that redressing even a little the global imbalances must be our constant vocation and tireless task. This is what we know.

Then we hear Jesus speaking of birds being fed without effort and flowers outshining Solomon in their glory simply by being. In our world so filled with effort, Jesus speaks of effortless existence. It is a strange word to hear.

But notice the end of verse 26. Here is where these strange words find their focus. People matter. In God's sight we are far more valuable than the birds and the flowers. If even these less valuable parts of creation are sustained within God's good purposes, think how much more we are.

Humanity is infinitely precious to God. Which is the perspective Jesus invites us to take into all our giving and working, our fund raising and campaigning, our seeking to influence the powerful and our willingness to stand alongside the powerless. God has made humanity to be as safe as a flower, quietly flourishing in a field.

Evil and circumstance distort and destroy that reality. We are called to a Godly fight to put things right. But more than this. Jesus here sets our work in its proper context. God is at work within creation, tending and sustaining.

The kingdom is coming through God's action. We will not make the kingdom come. Our task is far smaller, yet hugely important. Our task is to be servants of this kingdom; living in ways that demonstrate its reality and presence.

Something to do

Follow some of the stories on this website and through Christian Aid today of people overturning injustice and fighting poverty. Learn a bit more of the reality and the hope, the campaigns and the tasks. Grow a little wiser.

Something to pray

God of lilies and birds,
of tiny things cared for,
thank you for caring for us.

God of villages and fields,
of communities cared for,
thank you for caring for us.

God of all creation,
creator of all people,
thank you for caring for us.

Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge

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