Come, you weary ones...

"Come to me all you who 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

Being a congregation that practices Sabbath means when Jesus says Come to me, we answer, Yes. OK. We will come.  We will lay down our burdens and our pride; we will admit our weariness, and we will welcome your rest. We won’t wait until we are sick or dying or out of our mind. We wont let rest become a last resort, a contingency plan, a life-saving measure. We will come now. We will begin here. Yours is the way and work we choose.

Tonight, we at LNPC shared some reminders with each other:

1. Worry is practicing fear. 
Worry trains us to fear by saying over and over again, “What if… what if… what if…”
Rest is practicing trust. 
Rest trains us to trust by saying over and over again, “Even if… Even if… Even if…”

2. Rest is where our life begins from. The Jewish day begins at sundown.
Rest is not a reward for hard work or something you do when you can’t push yourself a second longer. It comes first.
We begin in trust.
We begin the waking day already having experienced these truth that infants already know:
My needs will be met.
I can sleep when I am tired.
I can eat when I am hungry.
I can trust.
I can close my eyes without fear.
I am held.
I belong to these people. They belong to me.
The world is filled with beauty and wonder and love.

And when we wake, all our work and efforts and living flows from this place.

3. Rest is not an end; it is a beginning.
Rest is not laziness, on the contrary, it motivates action.  It gets you in touch with what you need - crying, laughter, sleep, a friend, and it gets you in touch with the world: stop and see.
And then rest restores you and fills you so that you can go out and act from a grounded place, with right focus and perspective, creative, imaginative, alive and awake.
It reminds you whose you are and who you are, and guides you in the world.

4. The Bible often uses “the rest of God” as a synonym for “salvation.”
Rest is what being saved feels like.  Rest is being saved. 
What are you weary of? 
What burdens are you carrying?
What do you need saving from?

5. The way of God is the way of rest
Taking Jesus’ yoke means joining Jesus, and carrying what he carries into the world: the embodiment of complete belonging to God and belonging to others.
It is a restful, easy way, because it is the way we are designed to live:
Where "the other" is not threat, object or burden, but my sister, brother, friend.
Where there is enough and it is meant to be shared.
Where love has the first and final word.
Where the end it is all heading toward is wholeness and connection.
Whether we forget or not, God's redemption and love is already and always happening.
We trust this. We live always into, out of, and toward, this reality.

6. We've been practicing for this.
Jesus is God with us. With us in joy and with us in suffering.
With us in sin: when the division and the dehumanization we experience and inflict on ourselves and thrust on each other, are front and center.
Our God, who took on death so that all could have life,
is with us now,
still taking on death so all can have life.

We meet Jesus Christ, who is with us and for us, when we are with and for each other.
Around us are people hurting, people afraid,
people feeling lost and confused, or angry and overlooked.
Some people are feeling their very lives at risk.
The opportunities to be with and for each other are everyday apparent: moments for kindness, human connection, seeing and hearing each other, standing with each other, offering support, breaking down barriers, reaching past comfort zones, sharing gratitude, offering blessings... they are close to the surface right now. Seize them.

7. Letting go of illusions is part of salvation.
Right now we can see how easy it is to put our security in things other than God.
Not just in all the usual things we think of providing security, or even in things like wise leaders or common sense, but in the good faith of human beings. In some idea of basic kindness, in some trust that what we think should be will be.
It’s is easy to think everything will be all right when we feel alright.
And when we don't feel alright, when those things that felt foundational get taken away, it’s easy to feel like nothing can be trusted.

But God is with us in all of that too.  In fact, God is thrilled to welcome us into disillusionment, where we are made real, and honest, and repentant, and ready.

And the call to see and hear each other, to stand alongside each other,
to embody the love we know is the source, core, and destination of it all,
that call doesn’t change – that call is still, always and already our call.  That work is already and always now.

8. Rest until you trust.
That work is already and always now...
But not from weary people,
strapped to a yoke of fear.
Not from heavy burdened people,
dragging a load of division and disgust,
sorrow or suspicion,
vengeance or insulated apathy.

Remember what we said: 
When things feel most urgent, most pressing, most despairing, this is not the time to panic, talk faster, run harder. Strive further.
On the contrary, this is the time to stop.
To be still.  To rest.
To “reorient your being to the one who loves us.”  This is what Sabbath is for.

9. We are being set free.
God’s way is not our way.
All true transformation comes through weakness, futility and impossibility.
Let the brokenness be revealed that it might be healed.
Lest we forget, we don’t have a triumph and might faith, we have a death and resurrection faith.
This God always acts from despair to bring hope. From brokenness to bring wholeness. From impossibility to bring newness.
It’s our job to remind each other of that.

10. So, rest. Now. It's ok. 
Get outside. Breathe the air. Go near water. Take a nap.  Curl up with music. Cuddle your dog. Put down the phone. Turn off the computer and the TV.  Soak in a tub. Look into someone else's eyes for 60 seconds without looking away.  Look up at the sky.  Look inside. Breathe.

Jesus says, "Come to me..."
Enter into the rest of God.
The salvation of God is always, already at work here.

“Are you tired?
Worn out?
Weighed down by heaviness?
Come to me.
Get away with me and you will recover your life.
I will 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 will learn to live freely and lightly.”

(Mt. 11:28-30 adapted from The Message)


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