Christ Lutheran Church Upper Darby

July 5, 2020 Worship Sermon - "Jesus' Rest"

Delivered by Rev. Stephen Keiser

Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 145:8-14; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Come unto me, all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Is there anyone listening this morning who is not feeling weary?  If so, you are truly blessed… but you are also in the minority.  According to recent Gallup poles, a majority of Americans say they experience a lot of worry and stress on any given day.  We were already pretty stressed before the pandemic and the economic and social upheavals of 2020, and it’s no surprise that things have gotten more stressful this year.

So, I invite you to hear - really hear - Jesus’ invitation this morning.  Come to Jesus and receive the rest he wants to give you.  Let Jesus share your yoke.  Let him help carry your heavy burden. 

None of us knows whether the things that are causing us stress today will still be around tomorrow.  But we do know that Jesus will still be around tomorrow.  God’s caring presence in our world will still be around tomorrow.  So, let that caring presence support you and uphold you.

Just as God rested after creating the world, so you can rest.  It’s God’s gift to you.  Do what is within your control to sustain yourself and others, but also recognize that a lot of the things that are causing you stress are beyond your control.  So, give those things that are beyond your control to Jesus. 

When I was younger, I would always spend a week every July or August back-packing in the Adirondacks.  I carried on my back about forty pounds of gear: a small tent, a sleeping bag, cooking equipment, some food, a few changes of clothes, and a small Bible.  But what I didn’t carry was a television, or a telephone, or a computer.  After a day or two without these things, it was amazing how much lighter I felt.  Without the constant barrage of messages, my prayer life opened up and I felt closer to God.  The forty pound back-pack that I carried during that week was light compared to the heavy burden of stress I carried throughout the rest of the year.

But one doesn’t need to escape to the mountains in order to receive the rest that Jesus offers.  It’s available to you any time you ask for it.  You can enjoy during moments of stress and busyness as well as during moments of quiet and contemplation.  As a matter of fact, I invite you to enjoy it right now, in this minute or two of silence before we sing the hymn of the day.  Let Jesus help carry your burden and give you rest.