O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.
Jesus said: ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.’
We are living in stressful times. We are bombarded with accounts of political, social and economic stress. If our media outlets were always to be believed, and if our politicians and social commentators could be afforded the credibility they claim, we could easily be convinced that the ‘end is nigh’!!!
People deal with stress in different ways. This is reflected in the exponential rise in therapists who peddle the ‘only real path’ out of the psychological maze that leaves so many wounded and disillusioned. Sadly, the therapies on offer can never bring about the total cure they promise because, to put it simply, they miss the point! The only truly effective way of moving from despair to peace is summed up in Jesus’ words for us today: Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Jesus’ words speak directly to our modern situation. Those to whom Jesus was speaking two thousand years ago were weary from carrying the burdens placed upon them by Pharisees, burdens those whited-sepulchres rarely bore themselves. Today we are wearied by the burdens piled upon us by the demands and pressures of the modern, fast-moving world into which we were born. As we find ourselves begging for a moment of repose we would do well to pause, to step off the ever-accelerating treadmill, and to heed Jesus’ words: Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give your rest.
As we seek comfort and consolation in our busy lives, we often turn to remedies derived from flawed human wisdom. We also subscribe to the false notion that, for any solution to our problems to be truly effective, we must spend significant amounts of money and/or endure considerable personal discomfort. When considered in this light, Jesus’ cure-all remedy for stressful living is too simple, too idealistic. Instead of long and distressing periods of therapy, Jesus tells us to stop, to step off the treadmill and to rest in his presence. Rather than adding to our anxieties, Jesus tells us to leave our weariness and our heavy burdens with him, the One whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.
Lord, we thank you for the comfort and consolation you freely offer. Help us to rest with, and in, you; to allow you to take the weight of our heavy burdens; to renew our flagging energy in order that we might go forward as your faithful disciples re-energised and strengthened in our faith.
Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer.
That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy, let us pray to the Lord.
That God may establish among the nations his sceptre of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord.
That we may seek Christ in the scriptures and recognize him in the breaking of the bread, let us pray to the Lord.
That God may bind up the broken hearted, restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen, let us pray to the Lord.
That the light of God’s coming may dawn on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death, let us pray to the Lord.
That, with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights for the world, let us pray to the Lord.
Let us commend the world, which Christ will judge, to the mercy and protection of God.
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin to the
light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Uniting our prayers with the whole company of heaven,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon us,
scatter the darkness from before our path,
and make us ready to meet him when he comes in glory;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.