I will give you rest

Father, may these spoken words be faithful to the written word and lead us to the living word, Jesus Christ our Lord

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I spent one of the weeks studying in a conference centre in Swanwick with my theological college. We did 4, 1hour and a half lectures a day, covered three modules and worshipped three times a day. 

It was a brilliant week. One of the best moments of the week was on Tuesday where we had the afternoon off and my friends and I spent the time praying. Straight after the last lecture in the morning we stumbled across a fellow ordinand who was struggling with an issue in his placement. We asked if we could pray for him and soon he left feeling refreshed ready for a meeting with his formation tutor. 

The rest of the afternoon was similar, it felt like God had lined up various people for us to meet with and I was one of them. I experienced some deep emotional healing from some baggage I’d been carrying for a few years. As my friends prayed for me and another played music on the piano it felt like time had stopped. That time had no hold on us, the kingdom of heaven, the peace and the newness of life in Christ was tangible.

Today’s gospel reminds us of the liberating power of the good news that Jesus Christ brings us,

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ – Matthew 11:28-end

It’s very easy at this time of year to pile on expectations on ourselves, jobs that need doing, shopping to buy, relatives to entertain, services to plan, presents to wrap, food to cook. 

Christmas can be exhausting and it builds up and up and suddenly we feel like we are walking around with a weight that we cannot see and cannot let go.

Jesus reminds us that everyday we have the opportunity to call on him in prayer and leave our worries and anxieties at his feet at the cross. 

Leaving our burdens with Jesus and letting Him change us from within is an amazing experience. After my afternoon of prayer, we as a whole college shared in a Eucharist with healing and anointing. The air was thick with incense and our prayers and worship rose within the heavy scent. Each person left that service feeling relief from the burdens each were carrying, also with a fresh call for all to embrace the rest and wisdom from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah calls out to us to pay attention to the Lord’s liberating love,
Have you not known? Have you not heard?

those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,

 they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary,

   they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28, 40:31
Like eagles we can soar, free from the chains of sin, free from our heart’s deepest secrets, free from hurt that grips us and hinders us from living a life that is filled with Christ’s light.
As we approach the third Sunday in Advent I pray that we can all find that sacred space where we can prepare for the coming of Jesus in his humble crib. 

 That we, like the shepherds, are so amazed by the arrival that we drop everything and follow that light. 

That we eagerly enter the simple stable, and on our knees peer into the crib watching the hope that sets us all free sleep in peaceful slumber, feeling that everything and everyone will be well.

Amen

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