“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? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. ~ Matthew 6:25-34
When I was a pretty young adolescent, Godspell made it from Broadway through the touring companies and into my very own life. I was introduced, originally, by my older cousin, on whom I thought the sun rose and set (and on whom, Beloved has probably correctly surmised, I had a sort of a girl-crush). M. took me, when I was 11, perhaps, to see the touring company in Washington DC (it was playing at the Ford Theater).
This is what they mean when they say "revelation," something revealed, of God, that was not previously perceived. I was a religious girl, weaned on "Song of Bernadette" and Ingrid Bergman as Joan of Arc. I prayed the rosary and read about Jesus. But I also had scratchy 45 rpm discs of "Daydream Believer" (by the Monkees, not Ann Murray... she would come later), and "Dizzy," and "Build Me Up Buttercup." I liked the pop music of my generation. And to hear the gospel proclaimed in that musical language simply peeled me open. I had a revelation. The relevance of Jesus to my life-- my life, not just St. Therese the Little Flower's-- became real.
The moment that did the peeling was hearing the song, "All Good Gifts," into which was interpolated Jesus' reciting of these words from the Sermon on the Mount. The lyrics to this song were not original to Godspell; they were written as a 17 verse "Peasant's Hymn" by 18th century German poet, Matthias Claudius, and adapted into English by Jane Montgomery Campbell in the 19th century-- in the year in which the Confederate Army fired on Fort Sumpter, four long years before the American president was cut down at Ford's Theater while watching "Our American Cousin."
The song, as composer Stephen Schwartz rendered it, was a lyrical, lilting ballad, complete with the cast swaying soulfully as they sang, and Jesus-- I think this is what got me-- zeroing in on one person, as Jesus is wont to do, with this message of reassurance and challenge. Jesus has been zeroing in on me ever since.
And so, on this day on which we prepare to preach these words in our congregations, I take this as the Word of the Lord to me, and invitation to embrace my call wholeheartedly-- and I do, oh, I do.