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Rest for the Weary

July 12, 2008
By The Rev. Harold A. Langevin Jr., Senior Pastor of the Ellamore Charge of the United Methodist Church

We are now in the midst of summer, a time when vacations are being taken to get away from the stresses of the job and to enjoy some rest and relaxation.

Of course, now it seems that the word "vacation" is beginning to be replaced with "staycation" for obvious reasons. The whole purpose of this normally one- to two-week "getting away from it all" is to gain a little rest and rejuvenate our spirits. With that in mind, I began to think how we as a society will go to any length to satisfy our wants and even spend whatever it takes to ensure that the things we want in life will happen. Ironically, after all is said and done, our emotional state has experienced only a temporary fix for a few short months.

I began thinking about the passage of scripture in Matthew 11:28-29, where Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who 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." Friends, this is an invitation that has a thought and purpose behind it. The inviter has an object in mind. The question is to whom is Jesus speaking? Whom is he inviting?

He is inviting those people who are tired, weary and heavy-laden. There are many such people in our world today. Many need rest for their souls. Many are carrying heavy burdens. We have all kinds of struggles, and for some, not all have to do with God and following his commandments. Our culture is seldom characterized as guilt-plagued, meaning that we most often are quick to lay blame for our troubles on somebody or something else.

Some people have said that they struggle to find God. Those who have experienced being found almost always realize that God was not the one who was lost. One of the primary symptoms of being lost is not knowing where you are. It is much easier for us to say that God cannot be found than to admit that we are lost. Even the songwriter John Newton in "Amazing Grace" admits that "I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see."

You may be thinking how can I find God when my life is so chaotic and filled with confusion and distractions? When a loved one dies, grief fills our life and we are weary. When we are angry at parents or children - or anyone else for that matter - there is no energy to look for God. When life is oppressive and dark clouds of sadness hover over our heads, we can't see God. Our soul, that sacred place where we can feel God's presence, is filled and cluttered with the debris of grief, anger and sorrow.

If you have such weariness in your life, our Lord says, "Come. Here is rest." Jesus Christ knows your struggles and is there to be your companion on your journey through life. He is the light who has been through the darkness. He knows the way and is willing to undertake the struggles on your behalf. All you have to do is accept the invitation Jesus offers you. As he has said, "Come. Here is rest." See you in church tomorrow.

(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)



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