Lent, Day 13

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

—Matthew 6:25–33

LOOK: The Kingdom of the Father by Damien Hirst

Hirst, Damien_The Kingdom of the Father
Damien Hirst (British, 1965–), The Kingdom of the Father, 2007. Butterflies and household gloss on three canvas panels, 115 7/8 × 190 in. (294.3 × 482.6 cm). Photo: Randy Boverman.

Hirst, Damien_The Kingdom of the Father (detail)
Detail. Photo: Yvette Wohn.

LISTEN: “Seek Ye First” by Emorja Roberson, on The Evening Musicale (2019), feat. the University of Notre Dame’s Voices of Faith Gospel Choir and friends

Seek ye first the kingdom
And watch God add to your life
Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And his righteousness, it shall be yours

No need to worry ’bout the lack in your life
The God I know, he will supply
Submit your request, make it known
Give it to God, leave it alone
But you must have faith and believe what he said
In his word, trust his word

When you pray, seek his face, trust his word—trust and obey
If it’s in his word, you can count on it, trust his word—trust and obey
When you seek him, believe—trust and obey
Trust him, then seek him, and you’ll find him—trust and obey

Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And his righteousness, it shall be yours

I was searching for a good rendition of “Seek Ye First” by Karen Lafferty, a pioneer of the Jesus Movement of the 1970s—but instead I came across this awesome gospel song inspired by the same scripture passage! It was written by Emorja Roberson—pianist, conductor, workshop coordinator, composer, arranger, and classical and gospel vocalist. He graduated with a master’s of sacred music in vocal performance from the University of Notre Dame in 2017 and is currently a student in the school’s doctor of musical arts in choral conducting program, with a focus on the African American repertoire. He is the director of the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir.

Roberson’s “Seek Ye First” is featured in the online project Songs of Notre Dame: A Lenten Offering 2020. The accompanying meditation reads,

In this season, we pause and examine the things that stand in the way of our relationship with God. Notre Dame’s Voices of Faith Gospel Choir reminds us that we must seek God first – before fame, riches, pleasure, or certainty. In order to anchor our lives in God and to direct our efforts towards the coming of the kingdom, we must trust in God’s providence. What might be taking priority in our lives over our relationship with God? How can we re-center this day, this week, and this Lenten season, by seeking God first?

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