Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that what God wants for us is contrary to what we want for ourselves. We imagine our worlds are so different that God’s desires for us are far more noble and extraordinary than anything we could ever actually have. This is why at times religion feels like a burden.
The marvelous truth is that what God wants for us is exactly what we want for ourselves. For example, one of the deepest desires of the human heart is to belong to someone and something bigger than ourselves. So God gives us a Church so we can belong to a community of faith. As human beings, we long to be in union with another. So God gives us the beautiful sacraments of relationship, marriage and priesthood. Marriage through which two people become one with each other. Priesthood through which the priest forms communities of love where people are one with each other in the Lord. God gives us religious life through which women and men consecrate their lives to be one with God and with the people they serve. God desires for us to be in relationship with others through family, friendships and mutual working together. We yearn for forgiveness and the opportunity to get another chance. God forgives us for the asking and gives us a new start through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
One of the deepest cravings of all is to find refreshment after facing life’s many challenges. Jesus desires this for us too. He says in the Gospel, “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:25-30).” Jesus knew that facing life’s challenges would sometimes make us weary. How well we know the weariness that has resulted from experiencing the painful and sometimes dire consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. The heaviness of heart that comes from acknowledging the realities of racism and inequality in our world.
We learn from Jesus that the way to find rest is to learn from him who is gentle and humble of heart. Being gentle invites us to get rid of the harsh edges that are sometimes revealed in our language, opinions and judgments of others. Humble hearts know life is bigger than our personal worlds and that self-reliance ultimately needs to surrender to reliance on God. How wonderful to know there is rest for the weary after all.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector