O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
you made us all in your image:
may we discern you in all that we see,
and serve you in all that we do;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is time to have mercy upon her;
surely the time has come.
For your servants love her very stones
and feel compassion for her dust.
Then shall the nations fear your name, O Lord,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the Lord has built up Zion
and shown himself in glory.
When he has turned to the prayer of the destitute
and has not despised their plea.
This shall be written for those that come after,
and a people yet unborn shall praise the Lord.
For he has looked down from his holy height;
from the heavens he beheld the earth,
That he might hear the sighings of the prisoner
and set free those condemned to die.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
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.’
To feel that you have a real relationship with Jesus Christ should be both warming and really, really scary.
Yesterday we read of Jesus as being the one whose intimate acquaintance with God is so complete that by getting to know Jesus we get to know God. Just think about that for a moment.
In my life I have met so many people who have been overwhelmed by the possibility of a passing encounter with a ‘famous’ person. A close relationship with Jesus is on a totally different scale because Jesus and God are one!
To get to know Jesus is to lay ourselves open in a way that strips away all our human pride, intransigence, greed, anger, and so on. Getting to know Jesus is really scary because our façade is stripped from us and we stand before him in the harsh reality of who we really are. And … when our façades are so effectively stripped from us we come to realize that keeping up the pretence is exhausting. We realize that we are weary and weighed down with guilt and dishonesty, and all that other negative stuff.
When we see ourselves in this light, when we finally let go and trust in the friendship of Jesus Christ, then the famous words in today’s reading make perfect sense. Then we will find ourselves ready to let Jesus bathe our wounds, re-clothe us in all Christian virtues and bring us into the perfect rest that only he can offer.
So often this text is misused as some sort of spiritual comfort blanket for those who are facing a tricky day or two. Let us not fall into that trap. Rather, let us take that step into the unknown and revel in God’s healing and comforting love in order that we might be better disciples in the challenging world in which we live out our daily lives.
Prayers of intercession
Let us pray with confidence to the Father, Lord of heaven and earth.
Bless and strengthen the Church to which the mystery of faith has been revealed. Grant that she may speak the words of comfort to all people, to meet their diversity without losing the integrity of truth.
Come with healing into the discontent of the world, to take away the suspicion that separates people and sets them against each other. Teach those who think themselves wise in this world to trust the wisdom of the simple.
Make us more gentle and humble in our dealings with others. Give us insight to see the burdens that many in our community are bearing, and generosity to bring relief.
Have mercy on those who are bowed down under heavy loads, wearied by poverty and hunger, by sickness or by the weight of unresolved sin. Bring them to your side, to find comfort and assurance in your love.
We remember the departed who have laid down their burdens and found eternal rest. We give thanks that to them all mysteries have been revealed and the fullness of the divine love made known.
We offer our prayers in the name of Christ, whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.
Prayer for the week
O Saviour of the world,
lifted up on the cross to draw people
of all races and nations to yourself:
bless the witness of your Church
in this and every place,
and help us to finish the work
you have given us to do
in the world for which you died.
We ask it in your name,
our living and victorious Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
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. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.