Most mornings I find time before the rest of my family wakes up to sit with a cup of coffee and read the morning newspaper. Those of you who also read the Star Tribune are likely familiar with a standing portion on the back page of the ‘Minnesota’ section of the paper, a short weather column from the staff meteorologist. In my years reading this column I have noticed a theme that comes back again and again. It is always some variation of the meteorologist saying, “Look, weather predictions aren’t prophecies, we do our best, we can tell you generally what the science says the weather will be, but I can’t tell you down to the inch the exact amount of snow that you’re going to get.” After reading this sentiment in so many different ways, I have to think that part of the job of a meteorologist is dealing with a constant stream of disappointment from people who are upset that the weather didn’t turn out exactly the way you forecast. While uncertainty in general is hard, I suspect that meteorologists get more of this type of negative feedback than other professions. After all, planning around an imprecise weather forecast can impact major parts of our lives. When we read about the weather we want a prediction (someone to tell us exactly what is going to happen) but what we get is a forecast (what is likely to happen).
We are all people wanting predictions but living in a world of forecasts. We’ve seen this again and again in recent years and months: elections, severe weather, world events, pandemic modeling, and I’m sure we can all think of more. In all of these cases we have experienced predictions that have been wrong and forecasts that have been mistaken or misinterpreted. Part of what it is to be human is to plan for the future, to think about what actions we can take today to impact what our experience will be in the future. How can we plan for the future when we are reminded again and again of the fragility of our forecasts and the ineptitude of our predictions?
I think this is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 6 when he said that we shouldn’t worry just as the lilies in the field and the birds in the air don’t worry. While being commanded not to worry is a surefire way to make people worry more, I’ve always taken the heart of this passage to be the ending – “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Finding ways in our lives to practice this attitude, to practice presence in the now instead of projecting into the future, that is the way to live in our world of forecasts.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I know that in this moment what I have is enough. I hope that that is true for you today as well. I hope that you can take a moment, just a moment, to be present to the now. To let go of the cares and uncertainties of tomorrow and just be. In this, may we experience the peace and presence of the one who is the source and sustainer of all of our beings.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Andrew Buschena