Message from the Interim Moderator
Rest & the 3-legged race
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me … and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:29
June. Church picnics, weddings, and 3-legged races. You know, those races in which two people, who may have different height and body-types, agree to be tied together at the ankle. To become one runner. The secret is to establish a rhythm you can both maintain.
Three-legged races are hilarious to watch and sometimes frustrating to run. And they’re a great picture of life in the church family. Teamed up with folks whose personalities are different from ours, we share frustrations and laughs as we lope toward a common goal.
And sometimes we just get tuckered out.
“Are you weary? Carrying a heavy load? Come to me,” says Jesus. “I’ll give you rest.” About now, I’m picturing a month at the cottage, complete with catering service. But that can’t be quite what he has in mind, because Jesus’ next words paint a picture of work:
A team of oxen ploughing a field. Two animals yoked in a harness. It’s an odd image for rest. But look at them, working in step. Watch their easy rhythm.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,” Jesus says. “For I am gentle and humble at heart… and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus invites us to live in tandem with him. To engage in his work—and ours—as he teaches us. We’re not in this on our own. Step by step, he leads, he lopes along with us.
Walking with Jesus takes practice. It’s a bit like running a three-legged race. We have to learn the rhythm, to walk in step. When we pull away, everything stops, and we fall.
“My yoke is ‘easy,’” he says. The word he uses means kind. Jesus is a carpenter, remember? His yoke fits. It doesn’t chafe. When we learn from Jesus, when we live in tandem with him, there is no shortage of work. But it’s life-giving work. He engages our gifts and passions, and he fuels us with his Spirit.
Jesus is offering to carry the load with us. Our challenge is to let him. When we quit pulling away, and begin to take our cue from Jesus, we find rest for our souls.
We learn rhythms of grace. We match our stride to his. We take time to pray. We read his Word. We listen for his voice. In faith we step along with him.
As we learn to trust him, we find rest from anxiety. As we receive his forgiveness for wrongs we have done, we find rest from regret. As we offer forgiveness to people who have wronged us, we find rest from resentment.
We find rest, because we’re becoming the people God made us to be. The church family God calls us to be. There is good and purposeful work to do. Work of grace and love and compassion. This summer, we could have fun honing our skills at running 3-legged races. Rhythms of grace.