In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit Amen
The final part of our Gospel reading today has some deeply reassuring words of Jesus – so typical of his love for us. 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.
Jesus is contrasting his way of living on earth, lightly, lovingly, with integrity and open-heartedness to the guidance of God’s spirit with the minutiae of rules and regulations of the Pharisees. (Pharisees lived based on 613 rules (just remembering all of them is mind boggling!). Though it may sound like it a little – I don’t think this is Jesus saying follow me and have an easy life. He is saying follow me and have a fulfilled life in him. Being a Christian is challenging and far from an easy option, but depending on Jesus will give us both life and rest we need to follow his unique plan for us. The version of these words from The Message (an American modern language version of the Bible) makes this clearer I think
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. (I think this means meaning and purpose and hope etc). Jesus goes on I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
I particularly like in that – learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Grace is a RHYTHM that is governed by God and does not change. We can do nothing to earn it, and is not about our worthiness of it. From Jesus’ fullness of life, his coming to earth, dying and rising again. Fully God and fully human – we have all received grace upon grace. There is a constant movement or waves of this grace in our hearts and lives.
I like the analogy of the waves on the shore for grace. One wave comes in as another is going out. The ebbing and flowing of the waves of grace leads to deep transformational change that shifts our observations of reality. Those shifts change our perceptions, our interpretations, our thoughts, feelings, judgments, and actions, helping us to live, grow and depend on God’s love for us more and more. Amen.
References: The Revised Standard Version of the Bible, 1989, 1995 ©, The Message Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson, Photo of waves at Freshwater West taken by Alison in June 2023