Reading: Matthew 11.28-30
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.’Matthew 11.28-30 NRSV
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.