You may be surprised where the following words come from:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Great words and most appropriate right now during the challenging days of lockdown when we have all been trying to navigate through the perilous waters of the pandemic.
The words above are a literal translation from the original Greek language and were spoken by Jesus as recorded by Matthew in the New Testament. I know of many people who have been quietly discovering that these words of Jesus are true. In the middle of the storms of life, the stresses and strains, the fear and the anxiety, what a relief that we can find someone who really understands and comes alongside us.
As you know our church is open for private prayer during the week and we have noticed that more than 500 prayer candles have been lit during the pandemic so far. On one day alone, 16 prayer candles were lit. The church is a sacred space for many people in our village, even those who would not call themselves church goers. It’s a place where we can quietly reflect on the deeper questions of life and find some peace in a noisy world.
We all have faith in something. You may think that God is an imaginary being and that people believe in God to make themselves feel good, or as an emotional crutch. However, it also takes faith to be an atheist. An atheist must believe that DNA is the result of random chance and that the original raw material of the universe transformed itself into living organisms that evolved into human beings that show love and emotion, know the difference between right and wrong and can create beautiful works of art and music. That’s a leap of faith I can’t make.
For me it’s easier and more logical given the evidence, to believe in a creator God rather than in random chance – the odds are too huge to contemplate.
Maybe you think I’m being too religious? I hope not! Jesus wasn’t religious. In fact he stood against religion in all its forms because religion had become a stumbling block for many. Religion caused more problems than anything else because it was man made, not God made. He never intended us to live in a religious straight jacket. His intention has always been that we are set free to be the people he designed us to be, with a vibrant, life-giving, life-affirming relationship with him through faith in Jesus, who came to make God real.
As we approach the Easter season, may you know God’s unforced rhythms of grace!