Hi, ho! Kermit the Frog here.
Today I’m going to tell you why YOU should be a frog. Frogs are cool. We help clean the water. We eat all those bugs that bother you humans so much. We help important scientific research (not always by choice – but that’s another topic for discussion). And we are a very important part of the Circle of Life (talk to my friend Simba about that). A few of us have even become famous. Thor, God of Thunder, he became a frog – the first frog superhero. Disney made a whole movie about us – The Princess and the Frog. I’m told they are going to make that into a ride even. Finally, Mr. Toad won’t be the only amphibian represented at Disneyland. And of course, there’s Jeremiah. He was a good friend of mine. Never understood a single word he said, but I would help him to drink his wine. Frogs are great! And if you ever get the chance to become one, I highly recommend it.
I appreciate you for sharing your unique perspective on life as a frog. But what if I told you, we could all become frogs without kissing a princess or anything like that? (Kermit: I’d say you’re missing the best part of it all). Be that as it may, Kermit’s right. We should all want to be frogs and we can and we should. Says so right in the Bible. If you have a Bible or a Bible app on your phone, would you please find the Gospel of Matthew beginning with chapter 6, verse 25. Matthew 6:25. Now we’re not talking about turning green or eating insects. We’re talking about frogs of another sort. People who Fully Rely On God. Or FROG for short. This idea that we should learn to trust in God wholeheartedly is a theme that runs through the heart of the Bible. The foundation of our faith rests on our ability to be a FROG. It’s also one of the hardest things for us to do. For most of us, it’s something we will be working on for the rest of our lives, but the pursuit of it is worthwhile because even if we don’t fully succeed, the more we are able to trust in God, the more we are able to be our best selves. The more we are free to be how God created us. And the more confidence we gain in who are.
It’s easy for us to lose ourselves in the world around us.
We sometimes lose sight of our hopes and dreams, we become out of touch with God and God’s creation. Instead, it’s easier to focus on getting your Wordle done each morning than it is to live up to the potential of who God created you to be. Don’t get me wrong. I love Wordle. I’m still waiting for the word “about” to be the word of the day so I can win it in 1. But we enjoy these things because they are easily obtainable (okay sometimes Wordle isn’t all that easy either – but you get the point). They don’t require us to work on ourselves and improve bit by bit. They don’t require us to have faith in the unseen. BAM! They’re done. And in a world filled with so many unsolvable problems, sometimes we just want to feel life’s tiny triumphs to get us through the day. Just think of the MASSIVE events happening around us right now. There’s a war going on in the Ukraine. People are dying, are jumping in front of tanks, are holding back an invading force who attacked without provocation, and for what? Power? Greed? Self-interest? Things are finally lightening up again with COVID-19 and people are removing their masks and acting as if everything is back to normal. Of course, this is what it looked like before the Delta and Omicron waves moved in. Even though it’s MUCH better than it was even a couple of months ago, about 50,000 people are being admitted to hospitals around the country daily and still around 2,000 are dying. Meanwhile, we have to deal with voting rights becoming MORE restrictive instead of less. People being MORE polarized in their beliefs than before. And MORE acts of racism happening on our streets. It’s hard not to dwell on these things and not worry. It can be tough to fully rely on God.
But then I’m reminded of a lesson Jesus shared with his disciples.
During his most famous sermon, what scholars call the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shares this with his followers. This is from Matthew’s version of the story, an excerpt from Matthew 6:25-34. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?… 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
It’s natural to worry.
But if we let it stop us from doing what’s needed or doing what’s right, then it works against us. Excessive worrying can become all-consuming, and when that happens it also has some serious effects on our well-being. Worrying can lead to panic attacks, depression, headaches, breathing problems, loss of libido, upset stomach, extreme fatigue, increase blood pressure, and more. Which of course, gives us even more to worry about. But notice what Jesus tells us here? “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Worrying is unproductive. It takes away precious time from doing things that are meaningful and fulfilling in life. It robs you of the joy God wants for you. Jesus isn’t saying we shouldn’t prepare. In fact, he’s big on preparing (i.e. the Parable of the Ten Virgins). Jesus wants us to worry less, not be careless. We should be prepared. We should do all we can to get out of a bad situation or do a good job on a test or prepare for an interview. But once we’ve done all we can, dwelling on it becomes counter-productive. You and I know we can pretty much talk ourselves into or out of anything given enough time and worry. And Jesus tells us, “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” There are enough problems for us to deal with TODAY that we don’t need to add to it by worrying about what MIGHT come tomorrow. Instead, focus on the here and now, on what you can accomplish in front of you, on the people in your life who need you in this moment, and let tomorrow be tomorrow. Or as in the words of Paul McCartney, “let it be.”
When Paul wrote the song, it was a time of stress in his life.
The Beatles were nearing the end of their career together and it was a time of change in both the lives of the band and in their personal lives as well. As Paul wrote, “…I’d been doing too much of everything, was run ragged, and this was all taking its toll. The band, me – we were all going through times of trouble, as the song goes, and there didn’t seem to be any way out of the mess. I fell asleep exhausted one day and had a dream in which my mum…did in fact come to me… (S)eeing my mom’s beautiful, kind face and being with her in a peaceful place was very comforting. I immediately felt at ease, and loved and protected… She seemed to realise I was worried about what was going on in my life and what would happen, and she said to me, ‘Everything will be all right. Let it be.’ … So, this song becomes a prayer, or mini-prayer. There’s a yearning somewhere at its heart. And the word ‘amen’ itself means ‘so be it’ – or ‘let it be.’”
There is something powerful about releasing your cares and your worries to Christ.
It frees us to be our best selves. It’s hard to do our best or be our best when we are weighed down by doubt, anxiety, or fear – and that’s what worry is. It’s the cumulation of all those things. And if there is a way in which the devil becomes manifest in our lives, it’s from stopping us from being all God created us to be, by preying on our those fears and doubts. It’s one of the reasons why God wants us to learn to be more like Kermit in our lives and embrace our inner FROG. We need to all more fully rely on God to help us and guide us through life because with all that is going on around us, it can be tough to deal with, and if we’re not careful we can become overwhelmed. I know at times prayer seems counterproductive, especially for those of you who aren’t used to praying. It seems like we’re spending time just talking with God, who supposedly already knows what’s going on in our lives. So why are we wasting time just reciting again what God already knows? But that’s not the purpose of prayer. Prayer isn’t just sharing a wish list with God. It’s about communicating with God, it’s about focusing on God, and through that relationship strengthening our reliance on God. Of laying it down at his feet. It may not seem like it at the time, but learning to go to God and giving God the load is helping to train us to trust in the Lord and to let go of those things that are beyond our control. It’s an acknowledgement that we are not in this alone. Listen to the words of Jesus as he shares with us these words of wisdom, 27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Lent is a time of reflection, a time to focus on our relationship with the Lord. So as we move toward that day of celebration where we sing praise and joy for God’s grace and mercy, let us spend time in prayer to draw closer to Christ in our lives. Let us all embrace our inner Kermit and become more FROG like every day. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let it be.
 Paul McCartney, The Lyrics, pp. 413-414