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July 2014 - A Four Letter Word

A Four Letter Word

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Mat 11:28 ESV)

 

Did you catch that?  Our Lord just used a four letter word!  “Rest.”  Rest is a four letter word.  It is.  Count them, four letters.  But sadly many see it as a four letter word in the foul sense.  Indeed our entire culture so abhors the idea of rest, that it even seems hyperactive while it “rests”, working hard at play time, cramming in as much as possible in the little time they feel is allotted them.

It is interesting to note that when Jesus’ disciples had been working hard, getting swamped while preaching about the Kingdom of God, healing the sick and casting out demons, that Jesus did not break out the organizational charts.  He didn’t suggest that they start to multitask. He didn’t chew them out to get more done with the limited time they had.  He called them together to go with Him to a quiet place and get some rest. 

And it is interesting that often when Jesus was faced with difficult moments, or had been in battle with demonic forces, He would take time to get away to rest and pray.  Particularly after dealing with the foul and evil forces of darkness, He found balance by spending time in the cleansing, pure presence of His Father. 

When God finished His creative work, He rested from it and blessed that day of rest, and even commanded His children to observe that day – to take time and be rested and refreshed in Him.

Do you see the pattern?  And pattern is a key word there, for our Lord has designed us with a flow and pattern to our life – a time for work, and a time for rest.   And by rest, I mean not only physical rest (which includes getting plenty of peaceful sleep, trusting in the gracious care of our Heavenly Father – the hypocrisy of my typing this at 1:00 in the morning does not escape me – I so need to take this instruction to heart as well!) but even more so be renewed and truly rested by being in the Presence of our Lord, the very thing we were created for!

The devil wants to burden and weigh us down with guilt, and to separate us from one another.  He wants us to feel alone, cut off from others and especially from God.  What better place to be refreshed from such attacks than by being where God has promised to come and restore you.  Where God has promised to truly come and feed you His Grace; where He assures you of your forgiveness in the Absolution -- that He has truly removed you sinful guilt from you as far as the east is from the west and that there is no condemnation for those in Christ, that the devil can no longer accuse you!  Where you hear the Word of God proclaimed – the very thing you are meant to feast upon!  Where He reminds you of your baptism and what He has done for you in that sacrament and continues to give you by His grace.   Where you receive the tangibly personal reassurance of His forgiving grace in the very Body and Blood of His Son under the elements of the Supper.  In the Divine Service, God Himself comes to you His precious child and serves you His Grace, refreshing and restoring you so that you can share His love, care and light to a world in darkness.

Are you tired and fatigued from the stresses of this world?  Are you frustrated or dismayed?  Are you burdened and heavy laden?  Then come to where your Lord has promised you He is, and He will give you rest!    

 

Pastor

 

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