Meditation for 5 July 2020(15)

Call to Worship

Almighty God,
we gather in your name and bring ourselves before you:
your burden is light.
When we are heavy of heart,and the pressures of life push us down,
we bring ourselves before you:
your burden is light.
When we are in need of rest,tired from the activities of the past week,
we bring ourselves before you:
your burden is light.
Jesus, gentle, humble Lord,we leave behind that which holds us back,
and devote ourselves to celebrating the wonder of your love,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

HYMN Singing the Faith 65

Sing of the Lord's goodness, Father of all wisdom
Come to him and bless his name
Mercy he has shown us, his love is forever
Faithful to the end of days

Chorus
Come then all you nations, sing of your Lord's goodness
Melodies of praise and thanks to God
Ring out the Lord's glory, praise him with your music
Worship him and bless his name.

Power he has wealded, honour is his garment
Risen from the snares of death
His word he has spoken, one bread he has broken
New life he now gives to all.

Courage in our darkness, comfort in our sorrow
Spirit of our God most high
Solace for the weary, pardon for the sinner
Splendour of the living God.

Praise him with your singing, praise him with the trumpet
Praise God with the lute and harp
Praise him with the symbals, praise him with your dancing
Praise God till the end of days.

Ernest Sands


Prayer of Praise

God of many names,
gracious in your loving,
merciful in your judgements,
steadfast in your faithfulness to us,
compassionate to all:
may we always be thankful for all you have done,
from creation to the end of time,
and into the eternity of your rest;
may we always sing your praises,
speak of your greatness,
and bring glory to you by our actions.
Gracious, merciful, steadfast, compassionate, loving God.
Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, forgive us our sins,
for we are frail and weak.
We do what we know we should not do.
We fail to do those things that we ought to do.
And we do not understand our frailty.
We over-indulge and under-exercise.
We do not do that which is good for us.
And we do not understand our weakness.
But you, O God, know us all too well,
and you love us and forgive us.
Thanks be to you.
Amen.

Lord's Prayer

Read: Matthew 11. 16-19, 25-30


Jesus' comparison of 'this generation' to wayward children demonstrates that 'there's no pleasing some folk'. John the Baptist was condemned for being too ascetic, and Jesus himself for being too lax. Jesus' words conclude a passage in which he has commented on the role of John (vv. 2-15). The final comment in verse 19, referring to the 'deeds' of wisdom, echoes the statement in verse 2 that John, in prison, heard about 'the deeds of the Messiah'. What Jesus is now doing, and what John had done before him in preparing the way, are both seen as 'the deeds' of wisdom. In the Wisdom literature (for example, the books of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus), wisdom is identified with God's word or purpose. John and Jesus are very different, yet God's purposeis at work in them both - and both are rejected.
The final saying echoes what is said about wisdom in Ecclesiasticus 6.24-31 (cf. also Jeremiah 6.16). The yoke enabled oxen to carry burdens with ease. For the author of Ecclesiasticus, wisdom was embodied in the law; now it is revealed in Jesus: in contrast to what had become a heavy burden, Jesus' way brings rest.

Much in Matthew's Gospel makes Jesus' commands seem almost too heavy to bear: see 'you must be perfect' (5.48), for example. But here He says that if you can rise up and accept the loving relationship offered by Jesus, his 'yoke' (an image Jews used for the Law of Moses) will be found marvellously 'easy' and 'light'. It will be like an endless Sabbath 'rest' (v. 28). This is one of the most attractive statements of the Christian good news and is,perhaps, notoften given enough emphasis.

Do you remember the public messages to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Although the content of the weekly shop has changed recently (as well as the way we shop) we should rejoice when we see shops with reasonable supplies of fruit and vegetables - it might mean a future healthy society - except that in poorer districts, fruit and vegetables tend to be more expensive.

Many of our living patterns are inherited, such as the kind of food we eat. It is often the case that in asking questions about other events, such as the cause of some diseases, we discover the patterns of the past are flawed and a new approach is required.

We all carry baggage, some are the inherited lessons of childhood, for example, a faith that has never been encouraged to grow. Other baggage may have been adopted, such as the lifestyle we choose, for example, driving instead of walking or cycling. Some baggage is forced upon us and beyond our control - as in government decisions with which we disagree. Jesus invites us to bring to him all the baggage we carry - and to follow his pattern of dealing with it. His promise is that we will find release, direction and courage for the future.

 

Read Psalm 145. 8-14

The psalmist writes with confidence of the works of the Lord, looking towards a time when his kingdom will come and praising as if it has already begun. The everlasting kingdom has always been here and will continue to endure; in it the Lord is not remote like earthly kings but present to support his people.

Jesus' suggestion that we put on his yoke is unique to Matthew. In hindsight,and knowing what the future holds for him, we may wonder about sharing his load. But Jesus is offering to share our load, to be in the yoke of life with us.
In being yoked with him we can go his way, released from the weight of conformity, to learn from him how to overturn expectations and know true rest. In learning from him we allow a new story to be written that embraces hearing the flute and dancing. Like children, we are to look at the world in our own way - to simply come and find rest.

HYMN Singing the Faith 531

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged: take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness: take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge- take it to the Lord in prayer!
Do your friends despise forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer
In his arms he'll take and shield you, you will find a solace there.

Joseph Medicott Scriven

Prayers
Let us pray for those:
who are tired of life and all it throws at them,
or who are exhausted by the daily struggle for survival,
or who are wearied by worry and anxiety.
May they find the rest they need.
Let us pray for those:
burdened by memories of the past,
or weighed down by the expectations of others,
or who carry more than their fair share of responsibility.
May they find the release they long for.
Let us pray for those:
who are oppressed by those in power,
or who are suffocated by the demands of work,
or who are silenced in the face of injustice.
May they find the freedom they seek.

Take a moment now to pray for those upper most in your mind during this time of pandemic and for those named on our newssheet this week.
May they find the rest they need.
May they find the release they long for.
May they find the freedom they seek.
Amen.

HYMN Singing the Faith 550

Forth in thy name,O Lord, I go
My daily labour to pursue
Thee only thee resolved to know
In all I think or speak or do

The task thy wisdom has assigned
O let me cheerfully fulfil
In all my works thy presence find
And prove thy good and perfect will

Thee may I set at my right hand
Whose eyes my inmost substance see
And labour on at thy command
And offer all my works to thee

Give me to bear thy easy yoke
And every moment watch and pray
And still to things eternal look
And hasten to that glorious day

For thee delightfully employ
What'er thy bounteous grace has given
And run my course with even joy
And closely walk with thee to heaven.

Charles Wesley

Final Prayer

Loving Father, every morning that comes was created by you,
every hour that passes we give to you,
every meal we share we receive from you,
every person we meet is loved by you,
every joy we experience is found in you,
every tear we shed is precious to you,
every night that falls is watched by you.
Take the yoke of Jesus, and learn from him,
for his yoke is easy and his burden is light;
be gentle and humble in heart,
and find rest for your souls.
Amen.