Are You Burdened As You Follow Jesus? Here is Where I Find Help and Rest
Devotional Thought of the Day
16 The cup we use in the Lord’s Supper and for which we give thanks to God: when we drink from it, we are sharing in the blood of Christ. And the bread we break: when we eat it, we are sharing in the body of Christ. 17 Because there is the one loaf of bread, all of us, though many, are one body, for we all share the same loaf. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (TEV)
9 Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain again. 10 There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. 11 And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence! Exodus 24:9-11 (NLT)
72 If you are heavy-laden and feel your weakness, go joyfully to the sacrament and receive refreshment, comfort, and strength.73 If you wait until you are rid of your burden in order to come to the sacrament purely and worthily, you must stay away from it forever.
Open your own hearts to Jesus and tell him your story. I don’t want to generalize. But one day perhaps an ordinary Christian, just like you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles. Perhaps you lost your balance then and didn’t recover it. Your complacency wasn’t quite replaced by true peace until you freely said “yes” to God, because you wanted to, which is the most supernatural of reasons. And in its wake came a strong, constant joy, which disappears only when you abandon him.
In the last week, I have had to deal with a lot of people whose lives are in turmoil. Some are dealing with health issues, some are dealing with financial issues, a lot are dealing with the impact of sin, either others sins, their own, or both.
I’ve tried to be there when I can, or at least send a note or someone who can be there for them. Not that I am any greater than anyone else, but I am, by call, a pastor. I want to be there, as do many who have closer relationships. Somewhere in the middle I plan worship, write sermons and Bible studies, and am married.
Just like every other person I know who has a relationship with God, there are times the burdens seem overwhelming. Let me drop the pride, they are overwhelming. Every pastor, every priest, every chaplain, youth worker, Christian educator (whether a professional teacher or just a Bible Study leader) I know gets weary; the burdens mount up. They get overwhelmed.
Usually when I start to show wear, my elders remind me to take a vacation. Take a few days off, play golf, (and I sometimes do!) Go get your mind off of things. To be honest, that doesn’t work that well, either my mind doesn’t leave the “office” (because the office is the life of people I care for) , or I end up finding someone else that needs help, and I struggle to remember I need it too.
So where do I find rest? I’ll tell you – Sunday mornings, about 1045 to 1100. As people come and kneel, as eventually I will kneel with them. On every Wednesday evening during Advent and Lent, when we are in that same place. When pastors gather together once a month, and recently, as some other servants of God, gather on Monday evening. Guys who are as weary, as broken, as under pressure as I am. Some work 1 or 2 jobs, some of us have relaxing careers as pastors ( please note sarcasm)
We gather in His present, and as the elders did with Moses on Sinai, or as the apostles did in churches (even house churches) the sacrament is shared.
Martin Luther in the blue quote above talks about receiving refreshment, comfort, and strength as we do. St Josemaria Escriva notes that as we say “yes” and walk with Him, we gain a level of peace beyond comparison. St Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians, echoes this, talking about sharing the blood and body of Christ as ONE people, of finding in that feast a level of unity and therefore peace beyond comprehension.
This is where the burdens are lifted, where they are removed. Where we find God working in our lives and even celebrating His work. There is a sense of peace, a sense that all is right in the world. This is where again God tells you of His love, of the promises He makes to all those He brings into a relationship (that is what a covenant is) with Him. It is there we are assured that our sins are forgiven, that they can’t separate us from God’s love.
As a pastor, from my perspective, this isn’t just theory. I wish I should show you the changes in people’s posture as the anxiety leaves them, as the guilt drains from them, leavening refreshment. As joy replaces tiredness, weariness in people. For God is doing what He has promised, what He has done for others.
He has visited His people, demonstrated His love, and the fact that they will never be alone. He has given us a glimpse into the amazing height, the glorious depth, the abundant breadth and measureless width of His love.
We know it and celebrate that together.
I wouldn’t trade it for a month in Hawaii – or in New Hampshire.
For it in sharing His presence that we are refreshed, strengthened, lifted up and where we find healing for our hearts and souls.
Come join me tomorrow – come feast with God, come revel in His presence. And then let us go out and bring this hope to others. AMEN.
Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 455). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.
Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). Christ is Passing By (Kindle Locations 374-378). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on September 5, 2015, in Augsburg and Trent, Christ is Passing By, Poiema and tagged Abiding in Christ, anciety, Communion, Eucharist, hope, Lord's Supper, rest, sabbath. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.