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Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

Say, Thanks for sending me Father Michael's sermon on 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'. Quite persuasive or rhetorical, don't you think? But as Father Michael puts it - 'Easy words to say, but hard to put into practice.'. http://www.michaelckw.blogspot.com.au/search?updated-min=2014-0101T00:00:00%2B08:00&updated-max=2015-01-01T00:00:00%2B08:00&max-results=10 I enjoyed reading Father Michael's sermon. I agree with him that Jesus' intention was to allay people's anxiety about worldly life. I do not agree with him however that God would 'literally' provide for us in this world. But overall his sermon is directly on point that we should not worry too much, but be (practically) 'happy'; by not being pervasively anxious about things. Try to take life as we find it, as it comes, with equanimity, i.e. take the good and/with the bad with equal stride. Jesus is in a strict sense, an in-consummate preacher, because you cannot get the full interpretation and meaning of his parables or cryptic sermons, if you were to read them literally. Do not take today's Gospel Reading from Matthew 6:24-34 literally. Otherwise we will all end up like lizards suntanning in the sun or worse, ostriches with their heads in the sand. There are several hints to not reading it literally and ending up taking it out of context. Now to the first hint. You will note that Matthew 6:25, the passage starting off today's message, begins with the opening words - "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. ... ". The "therefore" is predicated on what Jesus prefaced in the last sentence in the passage before, in Matthew 6:24 "You cannot be the slave both of God and of money." So, the 'not worrying' bit does not relate to actually 'not worrying' but really about not being enslaved to this world of mammon, of money. Live in this world but do not be enslaved by it or by your worldly mammon self. Be a slave prospectively only of God and live your life in such a way that you glorify God and seek his grace. But you still have to render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar! You still have to render unto your worldly being and mammon life what befits your worldly being and mammon life. The second hint is in Matthew 6:32-33 (after Jesus had described all the anecdotes about 'not worrying') - "It is the pagans (worldly beings) who set their hearts on all these things. Your Heavenly Father knows you need them all (i.e. food, body, clothing etc.). But seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things will be given to you as well." In other words, glorify God and God will extend his Grace, as regards our 'tomorrow'. The third hint is in the last passage i.e. Matthew 6:34 in today's Gospel Reading, and what I see epitomises what Jesus meant by the 'not worrying' - "So, do not worry about tomorrow; (for) tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble (worry) of its own." So, Jesus is not telling us not to worry at all; he is telling us not to worry about 'tomorrow', and, rather, to worry only about 'today'! Jesus wants us to focus on the 'present', on whatever worldly task we are currently doing, on directly effecting our present worldly plans, on what we can immediately worldly do, resolve and decide on. Jesus is not asking us to just lie back and idly bask in the sun without any care in the world aloof from the world, like a dole bludger, a hermit or a monk under the banyan tree. That would obviously be contradictory to what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Talents. When we work, we work. When we eat, we eat. When we sit, we sit. When we shit, we shit. Do not worry about tomorrow, while sitting on the philosopher's chair in the toilet. Do not let your mind wander off worrying about tomorrow, when you should focus and concentrate your attention on the immediate task before you, whether you are working, eating, sitting or shitting. That would be negligent behaviour. Accidents can happen, when the mind drifts astray! You are mindful when you think of the present; but you are mindless (as in careless) when you think of tomorrow, when you

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should be thinking of the present! Jesus wants us to give our heart and soul and mind totally dedicated to the present, the very here and now; to live it fully in diligence and thought, celebrating the goodness of God and his grace and glorifying him. It is in this sense that Jesus wants us to worry - worry only about 'today', the immediate and the present, for that is already quite a handful to worry, to be 'mindful' about. It is enough if we just render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Do not however anxiously worry about tomorrow. For tomorrow does not belong to Caesar! The future is subject to God's grace. Not God's will, for as little Caesars, we will reap what we sow in the world of Caesar, but God's grace. That is why, in the 'spirit' of hope, we enslave ourselves to God, that is why we glorify God, for we wish God's grace for a better future, for a better 'tomorrow'. For if we celebrate God's goodness in the 'spirit son of God' within us, we need not have any fear for the future nor have to suffer any depressive mental anxiety. That is what spiritual faith is about. Be mindful of the present in the world of Caesar but have full faith in the future of the tomorrow that is God's. We will then watch our 'eternal' life unfold, for we are now the 'light of the world'. You will note the rather abstract or colloquial expression of Jesus - "tomorrow will take care of itself" (Matthew 6:34)! How can or would 'tomorrow' worry about its own things? But when you ponder deeply about this trite phrase or manner of expression, that is all we can do and hope for. For life is like a perpetual gambling session, whether it be poker or mahjong or whatever. We can only play the game, and with the 'players' that we are playing with! We can only play with the cards or tiles that we are dealt with. Imagine if you were to play your poker or mahjong game not focussing or concentrating on your cards or tiles that you have on the present 'round', but instead, worrying about what cards or tiles you might possibly have in the next 'round'? Jesus is basically saying that in the world of gammon (here illustrated by gambling), just focus on the present 'round'. Jesus is saying, as to the world of 'tomorrow' (the next 'round'), let me worry about it; leave it to my grace. But he implies however that his grace depends on our being enslavened to him, as to our 'tomorrow'. If 'today' we are slaves to gammon, in our 'tomorrow' we must be slaves to God. We cannot have two masters! Our 'tomorrow' must therefore belong to God i.e. we must glorify God for his 'tomorrow' to grace us. In fact, if you follow through and continue on to Matthew 7:1-2, which is where the final hint is, you will then realise that Jesus is telling you here one of those other things (other than 'today') that you would need to worry about. Rather, be worried, Jesus is saying, if you judge, whether yourself or others - "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you." In fact, this passage about 'worrying' that you are 'not judging', ties in with today's Second Reading from 1 Corinthians 4:1-5. At passage 3, St Paul said - 'Not that it makes the slightest difference to me whether you, or indeed any human tribunal, find me worthy or not. I will not even pass judgment on myself.' It is only when you do not judge yourself or others that you are selfless and egoless! It is only when you are selfless and egoless that you can love your neighbour, as you love yourself. It is only when we are selfless and egoless that we can love one another as Jesus loves us. It is only when we are selfless and egoless that we do not have an 'idol' before God. It is only when we are selfless and egoless that we are not 'separated' from God. For then we are totally subsumed in God; and that is when we might be said to love God with all our mind, body and soul! So, like the birds and the bees and the ants, and all the other creatures big and small, that do not strive to dominate like man, do not judge yourself or others, do not worry about tomorrow. Practise equanimity. Just get on with our lot in life to the best of our ability and capacity. Just go about daily diligently foraging or otherwise 'value-adding', making hay while the sun shines. Just go out and provide and feed and nurture your family and loved ones unselfishly. Be selfless and egoless and live your life to the full for them and for a better world. That is what a father's love is about! That is what filial piety is about! For the son is going to be a 'chip of the old block'! The son, through filial piety, will learn how to be a loving father. That is what being a family is all about. That is how worldly as well as spiritual life unfolds!

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Today's Gospel Reading reminds me of 'Brother John' (nickname) Chiang Kah Heng, one of my best friends at University. John was a dedicated Pentecostal Christian. He was so engrossed and dedicated that he spent most his time helping out with his church community and in reading the Bible incessantly by rote. He is another of my Christian friends who were good at reciting the Bible. Faith to him was learning the Bible off by heart. John failed his 1st Year University Exams. He failed because he took it 'literally' that he did not have to worry about tomorrow; despite my constant urging that he should start 'swotting' as the exams got nearer. The faith in the promise that God will provide for the future with his grace does not mean that God will help those who do not help themselves with or for the present. We are presently, day by day, as sons of man, like little Caesars. We must therefore render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Today belongs to Caesar, God is our tomorrow. Today represents our mortal life. Tomorrow represents our eternal life! Tomorrow is with God. Tomorrow is therefore, metaphorically speaking, subject to God's grace. Now let us get back to our 'worrying' bit, the part where we worry about the 'present' but yet we should not worry about our life - 'do not worry about your life', as Jesus said (Matthew 6:25). It is rather puzzling that Jesus is telling us not to worry about tomorrow, but rather worry about today, the present and now; and yet in the same breath he is telling us that we should not worry about 'life'. That appears to be an impossibility. It is all rather convoluted? Or is it? No, Jesus is simply telling us not to dwell too deeply about worldly life, or about our state or lot or destiny in our worldly life. Whatever will be, will be; the future is not ours to see! Jesus is telling us to get on with our worldly life! Otherwise we will be stuck in the quagmire of despair and despondency of worldly life, with all the suffering of humanity out there. Nothing is satisfactory in this world. This world is never-ending in its insurmountable problems. Jesus is telling us not to stress our mind with things that are outside our control. We are 'worrying' our mind with things outside its control! Jesus is saying that we should not 'dwell' in our mind; that is, we should not linger on the present, we should just experience the 'moment', and just plod on to the next moment. It is like saying focusing and concentrating on the moment is just momentary, from moment to moment. It is like a tennis match. When the volley is on, we focus with total concentration; but once we hit the ball we move on to the next moment, to the return on the volley. We do not linger on! We do not dwell on the present past! Recently I wrote the following to you.

Amazing Facts - Where is Our 'Self'?

Ponder on the following amazing facts. Fact No 1 - Because it takes our brains 80 milliseconds to process in formation; that means we are all living ever so slightly in the past. Fact No 2 - Because it takes so long for their light to reach Earth many of the stars we see at night are long gone. This tells us that what we see and hear and feel, in fact anything to do with our five senses, when we experience them, after they have been processed by the CPU of our mind, we are experiencing the 'past'. This fact is definitely apparent and proven in the case of some of the stars; for what we see is the past, as the applicable stars no longer exist! If what we see is always the past, whether slightly, or definitely so, then it stands to reason that beyond the 'experience' nothing really exists, that is, there is nothing immutable and permanent that exist the same from one millisecond to the next. There is therefore nothing

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eternal and permanent in this world, no matter how durable and everlasting we perceive them to be. No matter how fleeting or how microscopic, everything is subject to change and are constantly changing. We are a different person from one moment to the next. We are a different person with every heartbeat. In fact we die and are reborn again with each new heartbeat. Even if it comes down to the minute changes in some cells in the skin and here and there, organs and brain etc. If we are always experiencing a memory of the 'past' or more specifically the imagery of an experience from the 'past', then it accords with reason, that life is an illusion, that life is empty of any immutable permanent entity or self. If our permanent self is not in our changing body and by extrapolation our changing mind, then our human persona of a 'self' or 'ego' is an illusion! We only exist in our 'mind'! And in logical terms, that is a 'delusion' if what we mentally perceive turns out to be an 'illusion'. But how come we have an innate sense of a 'self'? The only reason I can think of is that of a permanent self in another dimension outside this dimension (that is an illusion) of our human world; that is dreaming that he is the ''self' in this illusionary dimension of our human world. In other words the permanent self, outside of his 'dream', is dreaming that he is the illusionary self, in the dream (that is of our world). But since the dreamer is lost in his illusionary self within his dream, how is he going to be aware that it is only a dream, only an illusion, and that if he awakens from his dream he will revert back to his permanent self that was only dreaming the dream? For the dream is so real within the dream that the illusionary self (within the dream) thinks that it is indeed the permanent self; and that any talk of him being illusionary or a delusion and that someone else is the 'permanent self' that is dreaming (him or it) is itself a 'dream'. Confused! No wonder we are all so confused and lost! I stand corrected. No wonder, most of mankind (other than us, if you should understand this dissertation) are so confused! Chuan 26/2/14 The past mind is unretrievable. The present mind is also ungraspable. The future mind is definitely not comprehensible. Let me reiterate. The past mind is already gone. It is a distant memory. If you suffer from short term dementia like me, it is lost history! The future mind is yet to arrive. And as we discussed earlier, let us leave 'tomorrow' to God. As to the present mind, the moment you say or think 'present', it goes by in a quick flash, like lightning, in less than the twinkling of an eye; gone like a 'dream', like an illusion. You notice that I have underlined 'like'. Whatever we experience is very 'real'! It is not a dream! It is not an illusion! However it is as if it were a dream, as if it were an illusion, but it is nonetheless very real in the experience. We laugh, we cry, we love, we pain, we suffer. We live but we do not really 'live'! For, we die or we are dying. In fact we 'die' and are 'born' again, with every heartbeat! Such a mortal life is unsatisfactory. In despair we seek eternal life or eternity in God. That is exactly the whole point! Even though realistically we are only experiencing each and every present moment of our life like a movie reel, we must be totally fully aware that the present mind is unobtainable. That it is like a dream, like an illusion. It is real in the experience but it is totally empty in its permanency; it is not 'eternal'! Our existence and any happiness or enjoyment we experience is transient temporary serendipity. Jesus' entire preaching is predicated on this salvation, this liberation, from the illusory worldly realm to the spiritual eternal realm, that is heaven. Our original eternal being, our eternal spirit son of God in us, what we were and are and will continue to be, from the beginning of creation, before the Original Sin of Adam, before the Fall of Adam, will liberate us from this 'dream', this 'illusion', that is the state of the worldly mammon 'son of man' in us. We need to awaken in the 'spirit son of God' in us, the 'sheep' that is 'lost', and expiate any adverse karmic consequences or residue (the 'reaping') from past and present causes and deeds (the 'sowing'); that keep us, as 'angels of God' 'ascending and descending' Jacob's Ladder. We have to do good to beget good. We have to love

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our neighbours as we love ourself. We have to love God with all our mind, body and soul. Those are God's Commandments. We have to live our life glorifying God for a good 'tomorrow'. We leave our 'tomorrow' to God, predicated on our being a slave to him. In practical terms, we do this when we repent and return home, in the spirit son of God, that is the Lost Prodigal Son; repent and return home to our Spirit Father. That is what we do 'tomorrow' and that is how we leave our 'tomorrow' to God. And that is how, the eternal spirit son of God in us takes us home, liberates us, from this 'dream', from this 'illusion', that is the Sin City of the World. Love and God Bless! Chuan

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