Today's Lectionary Text
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“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.”
During this season of our lives, when I read this section of Scripture, I am drawn in particular to the last three verses. I write this devotion from my experience but invite you to identify with what is written as it may resonate with your own experience.
I have experienced the pandemic, the changes and issues accompanying it. I have seen the videos of the indefensible killing of George Floyd and others. And as the renewed call for peace with justice rises, I also hear voices minimizing these concerns, mocking them, even responding in anger to them. I have seen thrown into stark relief to the efforts for good, the spiritual forces of evil at work perpetuating pain, fear, and division.
I have reacted to these momentous events and others with what seems like a continuous stream of strong emotions. I’ve felt anger, sadness, concern, confusion, helplessness. I’ve felt joy when good prevailed. I’ve felt these singly and mixed together, endlessly it seems. This continuous avalanche of emotions, perceptions, and reactions has left me, I must admit, weary. I am weary of soul.
It is in this state that I hear again the words spoken by our Lord, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” In a wearying world in a wearying time, Christ is my respite. It is in turning to my Savior that I find peace. And I do need peace. Through the peace of God that surpasses my understanding, I can again begin to find strength. And I do need strength. For there is work to be done, injustice to be addressed. There is work to be done, pain to be relieved. There is work to be done, divisions to be healed. Yes, there is work to be done, nothing less than the transformation of our world.
So, as I prepare anew for this work, I seek the renewal offered by God my Creator, Jesus my Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit who gives me life. I come to my Lord and my God to receive rest and to be refreshed. I come to find respite and to be revitalized. I take this moment of quiet today, to prepare for the tumult of tomorrow.
As the rider, relishing a moment of quiet during their journey reflected, “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.” From Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost.
--A.G. Turner, pastor
Valentine (Nebraska) UMC
Prayer for Reflection
God of all creation, both chaos and order, I come to you today a weary traveler, a disheartened follower. I seek you, for you alone are my rest and my comfort. I seek you, for you are my strength and my song. I seek you, for you are my hope and my future. I trust in you, God who loves me, God who accepts me, God who gives me life. Renew my strength that I may continue your holy work on Earth, through Christ who gave all for me and who loves me unconditionally. Amen.
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