The Sunday lectionary gospel reading for the Second Sunday before Lent in Year A, is Matthew 6.25–34, a section of the so-called Sermon on the Mount. It appears to argue that the followers of Jesus should live a carefree life as they seek the kingdom of God, not being concerned with future provision, but living day to day in simple trust. It thus raises significant questions about whether this is realistic teaching, or an unrealistic aspiration—since even Jesus’ first listeners needed to plan ahead if they were to live and thrive, in the seasons of planting, growth and harvesting of an agricultural economy, still more for us in a post-industrial context. And the illustrations Jesus uses might seem to lack credibility; should we really seek to learn from the birds, who die by the thousand in the winter because of shortage of food? A careful reading of the text might help us answer some of these questions.
Join James and Ian as they discuss all these questions, and reflect on how Jesus is our teacher in so many ways.