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Rev Adam Pawley

The Rector writes,

This Sunday’s gospel reading (for 6th July) ends with Jesus saying:

“No-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you are weary and burdened, 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.” (Matthew 11:27-29)

They are fairly well known and often quoted verses of Scripture. We hear them often in particular at a funeral service as an encouragement for the bereaved.

England are out. The dream is over. Again. On a more light hearted note, perhaps they are good words for all England football fans at this time too.

Jesus here is talking to the crowds and He is teaching that in order for us to live as Christians and know God – God will do his bit – make Himself known to us. But also we have our own bit to do too – make ourselves known to Him. If we are weary, if we are burdened; if (say) we are once again disillusioned with the England football team or on a more serious note – life is difficult at the moment and/or we have doubts about our faith in God then we can either turn away from God or we can come again to Him in prayer. Here, Jesus promises, if we do come to Him in prayer, then we will discover His rest for our souls.

If we ever reach a point in life where we begin thinking, how can there be a god? – Then we can ask ourselves first, but have I tried coming to God in prayer? Be it by yelling at Him (!) and sharing with Him how we feel; asking Him where He is or why He hasn’t made life better for us – The shepherd boy psalmist come king of Israel, David cried like this often – for example in Psalm 10 he begins, “Why, O LORD, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” (v1) or be it we come to God quietly and silently in complete awe and praise (again like David the psalmist used to do). Coming to God in prayer, taking time to share our thoughts and emotions with Him, be they clear cut or muddled, joyful or hot tempered or somewhere in between: He can take it and will listen. He is God after all and it is good for us to be honest. Moreover, look how David ended Psalm 10 too:

17 You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.

In making his cry to God, in bringing his burdens to the Lord in prayer, David discovered again, God’s peace and rest in his own soul.

In prayer, we can come to God exactly as we are. Weary. Excited. Confused. Joyful. Burdened. Uplifted. Stretched. Relaxed. Faithless. Faith-full. With a lot on our minds or with very little on our minds. We may shout at Him. Or sit quietly before Him. But we can always be honest with Him. As our Father in heaven, He just longs for our attention and our devotion. We may sometimes wonder why doesn’t God make Himself known to me? But have we tried coming to Him ourselves first? It takes two to make a conversation.

Earlier in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says to His disciples, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.9 ‘Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

May our faith and trust in God, regardless of our life’s situations, ever be increasing and fulfilling. Where we are weary or tired may we trust Him and know His rest for our souls. Where we are joyful and full of praise may we invite God to celebrate with us too. God after all will always be far more reliable and praiseworthy than the England football team!

Two last thoughts – Holland to win? Plus Murray to hold his title?

Adam

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