This week’s readings and story are about fear and about trust: trust in ourselves, trust in our families, trust in God. In today’s parable (or story) a very wealthy man, who owned lots of land, was planning to go on a long journey. He called together three men who helped him manage his land, and gave them each money; he asked them to take care of the money for him while he was away. The money was paid in “talents”; a talent was worth a lot – probably more than $10,000. The wealthy man gave the first man 5 talents; he gave the second man 2 talents and he gave the third man 1 talent. While the wealthy landowner was away, the man who had 5 talents earned 5 more talents, and the man who had two talents earned two more, but the man who had one talent was afraid, and buried the money in the ground.
After many months, the wealthy man returned, and asked to see the men. He was very pleased with the man who earned 5 more talents and said “Well done! You are a good and faithful worker. I will put you in charge of larger affairs. Come, share my joy! Celebrate with me!”
He was also pleased with the man who earned 2 more talents, and said: “Cleverly done! You are a good and faithful worker. I will put you in charge of larger affairs. Come, share my joy! Celebrate with me!”
The man who buried the one talent in the ground said: “I was afraid of your anger, so I buried your talent in the ground. Here is your money back.’” The landowner was very angry! He said: “If you are fearful and were afraid of my anger, you should have put my money in a bank; they would have paid you some additional money!” The landowner took back the talent and sent the man away.
The man who buried his talent was afraid of the landowner, and because he was afraid, he buried the money. He did not trust his master and, more importantly, he did not trust himself to take care of the money. He was so afraid of failing that he decided not to do anything with what he had received.
Have you ever been afraid of making a mistake? Or afraid of doing something for the first time, like riding a roller-coaster, swimming underwater, or climbing Squam Rock? Even though you know it’s safe, and there are people there to help you? It takes trust to do any of those things; you have to trust the people who are encouraging you, and you have to trust yourself. You have to be able to “take a leap of faith.” Like learning to swim, or learning to read, you have to be willing to keep trying, until you can do it! And WHEN you do it, everyone around you will celebrate with you and share your joy.
Have you ever been worried about very big changes in your life? Sometimes a family has to move to a new place, away from their friends or family. Moving to a new home, or starting a new school takes trust, in your family, in your teachers, and in yourself. You must take “a leap of faith,” know that God is always with you, and know that God and those you around you will continue to support you.
This hymn, Be Not Afraid, has always helped me when I am facing difficult times: when we moved to a new place and left friends, when a family member was ill, or lost their job, when someone I care about was in a dangerous place. The song is sung by Cat Jahnke.
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. … [T]each us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.” – Psalm 90: 1, 12.
May you and those you love remember that God is with you always; God trusts you to trust and care for yourself and to care for others.
This week’s Creation Care resources for families – shared by Reverend Sue & the Creation Care Team:
Appliances: Family Activities – Teach your children about the appliances in your home: show them how to use the dishwasher, the clothes washer, the refrigerator. Teach them how they work: Have a child stand straight with their arms straight down and away from their body. Ask them to twist very fast and see how long it takes before they get tired. It takes a lot of energy for the washing machine to do its job! Teach them to appreciate these labor-saving devices.
Help them understand that there are ways to conserve energy by the way they use appliances – like washing with cold water, or consolidating loads of laundry. Teach them in what ways appliances hurt the environment (i.e. refrigeration). Give them jobs like hanging out laundry to dry in the sun. There are many cartoons online to teach children about appliances and what they do. Watch them together. Energy Kids (from USEIA) offers some great resources for kids & families about Using & Saving Energy!
Lawns & Gardens: Family Activities – Have your children make a drawing of your lawn and gardens. Then have them make a drawing of what might be growing on the same patch of ground if it wasn’t planted with grass. Compare them. How different those drawings look! Explore native plants to include in your yard. Ask them what wildlife may be attracted by the native plants. Here are some great examples: Milkweed to attract and feed Monarch Butterflies; American Holly to attract Orioles; American Larch to attract woodpeckers, etc How many animals would find homes? How many birds would be building nests and singing?
Ask your children what new trees, flowers and bushes they’d like to plant. Have them draw the new garden. It’s wonderful for them to realize that they can restore habitat that is critically important now.
Work for Peace (and to End War): Family Activities – Go to: www.seedsofpeace.org/wp-content to find wonderful peace games for children for school and home. Look up Buckminster Fuller’s World Game, the purpose of which is to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone. Purchase cooperative board games to play on family game night. Search Google for “Cooperative Games for Children”, or start here for suggestions for different ages:
Public Transportation – Family Activities – Learn about biking and public transit options for your travel to/from work and school. Read about them together.
Try slowing down and set a month to “experiment”. In that month, bike as a family and/ or take public transportation with your family. Understand the route and round-trip time to/from school or work. Understand what you can do with that time not rushing in your car.