When Rest Is Found
Sunday, March 19, 2023
Pastor Bonnie Lomen
This the sermon which accompanied the Rutters Requiem on March 19, 2023. The choir and musicians treated us to wonderful music. At the contemporary service, God had moved us to surprise each other with “Breathe” which is mentioned in the sermon. God is good.
Come to me all you that are weary and are carrying burdens, 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ words in Matthew are invitation. As Jesus speaks this invitation, He is offering listeners a new framework for life.
A yoke was not only the wooden piece holding two people or animals together for working. It also was a teaching. If you were a disciple to a priest, you wore their yoke. You lived their teaching. If you are Jesus’ disciples you wore and lived HIS YOKE. He tells us His yoke is easy, He will not burden us inappropriately. His promise of help doesn’t fall short of His work He has for us. Then, like now, Jesus spoke to people living in a broken world. The people are yoked to many different things, as we are;
Grief and despair
- Loss of dreams
- Loss of loved ones
- Loss of health
- Perhaps betrayal by a loved one-which can cause us to exist in brokenness
- We despair in our feelings of helplessness or inability to fix what is broken in our lives or in the lives of those we love
- It can be pain to which we are yoked, relentless pain of body or spirit
- Some are yoked to fear; even a fear their lives serve no purpose and they will leave no footprint
- Despair can come from being yoked to success, in feeling we were never good enough and now deserve no love, or the drive to succeed which eats away at souls
- We can be yoked to remorse of things done, or left undone
- Being yoked as a Christian, to the LAW, can burden us; always being angry-working so hard to change people by beating them up with the law……..and so on.
Gosh, if we understood and were changed by the law, if the law saved us, Moses would be our Savior. But he is not. The Savior, Jesus, comes with a teaching of truth which will not burden us with lies. He comes with patience so we might have time to learn to live His ways. He isn’t speaking of no law……..His invitation is to His law; LOVE.
This invitation to come to Him, is for all people. We may yoke ourselves to Him as begin our lives at baptism, or as we drop to our knees exhausted and immobilized in despair. His yoke takes us from the darkness of death offered by a broken world, to life available now, and as we pass into eternity.
Pain is real. Our brokenness can sometimes be paralyzing. But Jesus yoke is HOPE. This is why we are ‘the church.’
I share a story in two parts:
It was shortly after beginning ministry in Pine River when we took a look at our future as a congregation. We had someone from outside the congregation lead the process. One question which stuck with me was this: “What is you love language to God musically? Pipe organ? Piano? Gospel? Something in the line of praise? What musical voice best helps you speak worship?”
We found we had people from the background of pipe organ and large choir………all the way to a Pentecostal person who wanted swaying, hands in the air praising. Yet we were a congregation with an electric organ and a praise team which used piano.
Not long after this, I received a call from the school principal. One of my members, a school teacher home on maternity leave, had just lost her son. As she heard the school bus arrive with her first grader and went to greet him, she suddenly heard the bus back up. It had driven over her son. She was the first one on the scene.
The journey from that point was hard for everyone. It required prayer and uncomfortable silences. There were times when no words could be spoken. The grief was deep, the despair palpable. The funeral was held in the school auditorium and 900 attended. No one had the words to speak a eulogy. Song became the voice of all of us. The team used their musical love language……………..
This is the air I breathe. This is the air I breathe. Your holy presence, living in me.
This is my daily bread, this is my daily bread, your very word, spoken to me.
And I am desperate for you, I’m lost without you
This music was our voice that day.
We used words of the Psalmist:
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord! Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
And The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
In time, yoked to Christ, new life emerged.
Today, our choir and musicians come to give words and music to hearts which are heavy. Broken. Requiem offers words for us to face darkness, and move into light. The requiem takes us from death into life.
Yoked to Christ, our prayers rise together, and we sing, or listen to this love language of music because we may have no voice this day. The Psalmist will remind us of hope which is ours.
Are we tired yet? Tired of other yokes which exhaust and break us?
Then let’s listen to the invitation our Lord:
Come to me all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. YOU TOO will become gentle and humble in heart. You will find rest for your souls.