First, a reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 6, verses 25-27.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
At this time, please pray with me Psalm 19, verse 14:
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Do you think Jesus’ speaking style would have made him sound stilted and academic, the way that what you just read sounds? I don’t think so. Jesus was the son of a carpenter, after all, and a plain man who grew up in a small town, learning his trade from his father. For this reason, I’ve tried to strip off the stilted, academic polish on these words of his, translating them into plain, colloquial American.
Now we have a different reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 6, verses 25- 34.
“… I’ve got to tell you that you shouldn’t worry about your life and what you eat or drink, or about your body and what you wear. Isn’t your life more important than food? Isn’t your body more important than clothes? Look at the birds up in the sky. They don’t plant seeds or harvest anything, or build barns to keep it in, and even so your father up in heaven feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? Can any of you add one lousy hour to your life by worrying about it?
And why’re you worrying about clothes? Look at the lilies growing in that field over there. They don’t work for a living. They don’t have any clothes, but not even Solomon in all his glory was as beautiful as one of them. If that’s how God dresses the grass, that’s here today and gone tomorrow, don’t you think he’ll clothe you? Yeah you, with only a little faith! So stop worrying, and don’t say “What’re we gonna eat, and what’re we gonna drink, and what’re we gonna wear?” Everybody’s always running around looking for these things, and your father up in heaven knows you need’em, too. So first, look for his kingdom and his righteousness, and he’ll give all these things to you, too. And don’t worry about tomorrow — just let it worry about itself. There’s too much trouble every day already.”
It reads like the plain speaking of a plain man, a man whom the conventional, the secular, the learned, and the intellectual disdain, this carpenter from East Podunk, Galilee, for God’s sake, who, while surrounded by the dregs of society, has the nerve to lecture his betters about the will of God.
I hope that it reads like that, and if it does, then thank God as I say unto you, 1
1 Stilted and academic Is okay for me, because I am an expert. I caution you, however, not to try this at home.