Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear you,
To receive your Spirit,
To be led by your Spirit.
Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.
Third Sunday after Pentecost
There is something fickle about the tendency we have to resist what is not to our immediate liking, especially in the domain of God’s initiatives. We are never pleased. This negative push-back, voiced in the form of criticism which holds God’s servants at fault for our attitude, also holds us captive to our self-serving interests.
Rather than being caught in the futility of human manipulation, Jesus directs our attention to a greater wisdom: “Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Look at what John does. Look at what Jesus, the Son of Man, does. Look at the fruit of their labor.
But he goes further. This looking at deeds is companioned by revelation given by God. As we look, God shows us – helps us to see. No one can know who Jesus is without God helping the person know. And no one can know who God is without Jesus helping the person know. There is a yieldedness of dependency of the Son on the Father, and of the Father on the Son.
This means that in our living, our teaching, our preaching, our service in the name of Jesus within the church and the world, even if it is met with sarcasm and criticism, is at the same time companioned by God’s presence and work. God is the One who is at work, helping people see and know the Jesus we love and follow. Jesus is at work, helping people get in touch with their need of God in their lives. Any deed done in the name of Jesus counts.
The resistance and push-back of the world – and even within the church – may wear us down, discourage us. The early followers of Jesus experienced their own share of criticism for not adhering to legalistic rules on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:2), for not practicing the traditions of the elders (Matthew 15:2). Following Jesus, learning his ways, costs. And sometimes the cost hangs heavy within our mind and soul.
It is to his followers who had been sent out to teach and to proclaim the message of the kingdom of God, the Good News, followers who had lived in the joy of being received and felt the sting of rejection, experienced the welcome of being heard and felt the cold weight of being ignored, the freedom of being believed and the weight of being denied, that Jesus now offers an invitation as they return and share their ministry experience:
Come to me,
All you that are weary
And are carrying heavy burdens,
And I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you –
Learn my ways
For I am gentle and humble in heart,
And you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke – my way – is easy,
And my burden is light.
Draw aside this week, and hear the invitation of Jesus, calling you to come – carrying what weighs you down and wearies you.
Notice what you carry, and lay it down before Jesus.
Receive his gentle welcome, feel the rest he offers.
Listen for his care and guidance –
Guidance that leads you more deeply into the rest Jesus gives within.
Third Sunday after Pentecost
- 6/27 Monday: Matthew 11:16-19
- 6/28 Tuesday: Matthew 11:25-30
- 6/29 Wednesday: Song of Solomon 2:8-13
- 6/30 Thursday: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
- 7/1 Friday: Romans 7:15-25a
- 7/2 Saturday: Matthew 11:16-19
- 7/3 Sunday: Matthew 11:25-30