Father God, we are here today, to praise you, to learn from you.
Your wisdom, shown to us through Jesus, is far greater than that of the world. It has the power to confound all our expectations.
Lord, open our hearts to receive you in ways beyond our imaginations. Speak to us, Lord. Amen
Once I spoke to a farmer in Romania about a cow and a calf that were joined together by a wooden yoke.
‘Why do you tie them together?’
‘So that the young one can learn how to be a cow!’
Jesus looked at the religious leaders in the synagogues and the temple in Jerusalem and he was not impressed. Instead of telling people of a God who wanted love and mercy, they spent their time making people feel guilty for breaking rules – hundreds and hundreds of complex rules. Jesus said this obsession with rules was wrong. Instead he gave a ‘Golden Rule’:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets
It was in this context that Jesus said the words which we hear in our reading today:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Jesus invites the weary and burdened, those who are looking for rest.
We all carry burdens: Spiritual weariness, compassion fatigue, illness, debt, addiction, the threat of redundancy. You may be struggling to forgive yourself or somebody else.
Occasionally we can all find life a bit overwhelming. So why not turn to Jesus for help? – Jesus tells us there is no reason to struggle alone with our burdens.
Jesus invites us to take his yoke upon us! A yoke is a symbol of hard work! When Jesus promises us rest, he is not calling us to a life of idleness.
When Jesus says take my yoke upon you, he is offering to walk alongside us and share the load. This is the way which we are meant to live our lives, with God at our side, helping us, working with us; teaching us how to be a Christian.
We still need to play our part in shouldering the load of our burdens. Jesus never offers his followers an easy life but he offers a full and rewarding life of service. Whichever way you look at it – we will still have to carry our load but it’s up to us to decide if we seek God’s help or try to do it alone.
Accept Jesus’ invitation to find fulfilment and peace for your soul.
A prayer of acknowledgement
In times of weakness and hour of need, yours is the strength by which we carry on. The shoulder we rest our head upon.
When our load is heavy and too much to bear, yours are the arms stretched out to help us. The grace that we depend on.
In times of confusion and uncertainty your voice is heard, ‘Come… find rest.’
This is grace divine – the path we tread to wholeness of body and spirit – the path that leads to you.
Through Jesus Christ, your Son, we have come to know and love God.
We have seen God’s love and mercy in action, we have caught a glimpse of God’s heart.
Now go and follow Jesus’ call to share his yoke. Amen
Rev. Jim Williams