Lectionary Reading: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 (NRSV)
|Many people may empathize with this feeling|
even when we haven't done anything strenuous.
"whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:38 (NRSV)
In contrast, Jesus tells us this week,
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NRSV)Same person. Even the same Gospel writer. When held next to one another, which would you choose?
Of course, context is important. People that hold scripture up side-by-side without it, often miss the larger, wider point. In today's reading, we see Jesus speaking to his disciples. He's frustrated by the fact that many people may come to "ooh and aah" over his miracles but fail to take repentance seriously (check out verses 20-24 that are left out of the lectionary reading for some reason). We can see this frustration in the first part of the reading.
Jesus must be wondering, "Why are people so obtuse?" to somewhat quote Shawshank Redemption. It's as if Jesus gives us an easy way to go but people stubbornly choose the hard way. It may be how we are wired.
In his book on teenage boys, He's Not Lazy, Adam Price tells the following anecdote about one of his patients telling him the following:
"Whenever I have a paper to do, I tell myself, 'I'll let future Colin worry about it. You can trust him.' Then, the night before the paper is due I say, 'That past Colin is such a jerk.'"We can smile at this story because we've all got a little Colin in us. How do we willingly choose the easy path of Jesus? What does this path even look like? We know that discipleship is not easy. It requires a lot of reading, praying and then acting upon what we've read and prayed about. So how do we engage? Especially when:
We are weary.
We are heavy laden.
We would like some rest that is untroubled.
I hope to explore this idea through our worship service on Sunday. If you are joining us in person at Edmond, we would invite you to register ahead of time. If you are joining us online, we would invite you to check-in your presence in some way by making a comment for others to see. My hope for this sermon is not to just trot out some simple answer that may seem trite like, "Just pray more" which really translates as "Be more faithful." We'll see what I come up with. I'll try not to leave the sermon writing up to "Future Sam" even though we can all trust him!
Photo by Dennis Tai via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.
All scripture quoted is from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.