Worship Together Live & In-person — Indoors!
Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Sanctuary on both Saturday, July 4 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, July 5 at 10:00 am!
Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details including how to reserve your spot, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible.
For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live.
5th Sunday after Pentecost: Tired? Let Jesus Help You Find Rest
Are you feeling at all weary or like you are carrying a heavy burden? If so, this weekend’s lessons are for you! Jesus speaks to the crowds about the challenges of holding your own beliefs when others disagree, of following him, and just living life to the fullest, while St. Paul talks about the challenge of following God’s Law. Jesus reminds us that he calls us to come home to the cross, where he waits for us. “Come to me, all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you REST!”
Join us for in-person or online worship this Saturday night or Sunday morning. We miss you!
Saturday 5:30 pm Contemporary Service
Sunday 10:00 am Traditional Worship Service
Tired? Let Jesus Help You Find Rest
Sermon for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A
July 4-5, 2020; Independence Day
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Our Saviour Lutheran Church of Warrenton, VA.
The Reverend Terri E.L. Church
“Don’t you think she looks tired?” Those are the words a famous time-traveling, world-changing hero of science fiction uses to bring about a regime change. It is The Doctor who says it. “Doctor who?” you may ask? Exactly. (pause)The Doctor was angry with the Prime Minister and said he could take her down with six words. He then whispered, “Don’t you think she looks tired?” in the ear of a man nearby and walked away. Sure enough, the rumors spread. “A leader shouldn’t look tired! They need to display vigor and health!” Pretty soon all the United Kingdom thought she looked tired enough to assume she had drastic health problems, and she was out.
Well, all I can say is I hope being tired doesn’t keep you from leading and working these days! I will broadcast it to you today and those watching online, “I’m tired. You don’t even have to wonder about it!” Anyone with me? It seems that the “freedom” to work from home means many of us are working longer hours than ever, all while juggling parenting or caring for older generations and figuring out if we can afford to put food on the table. Those who aren’t “tired,” per se, are often lonely, carrying the burden of being “at risk” for a virus with no definitive treatment, cure, vaccine, or herd immunity. Leaders are exhausted from balancing the needs and requests of the people under their care, and we all struggle to make the right choices for others and for ourselves. Most of us look tired!
And maybe that’s not so bad. As we celebrate our independence as a nation this weekend, we are reminded that our country celebrates being a welcome place for those who are weary. I’m thinking, of course, of Lady Liberty and her proud, welcoming stance. Did you memorize her poem?
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”[i]
That is what we say as we welcome new Americans to our shores, as we were once welcomed so long ago. It doesn’t mean we expect to take care of people forever, just that we offer a place of respite to recover and we invite them to work beside us to thrive in our great nation!
Knowing you are tired is not a sign of weakness but rather of wisdom. We need time to recover, and often we need help to get it. Sometimes we even need someone to hold our hearts as they are heavy with grief or the worries of the world. We need rest, and we need a hand up.
It is into our tired, lonely, and worried world, that Jesus speaks a beloved passage in today’s Gospel from Matthew:
Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
“Come, and I will give you rest.” Ah! That’s just what I needed!
Come to ME, says our Lord. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
When you hear of a yoke, does an image come to mind? Perhaps you think of horses or mules, working animals that are yoked together. I remember seeing all kinds of animals linked together on the streets around us in Romania. I even remember when the animals were oxen. They were huge! It may not sound like rest—they are working animals! Is so, good catch. Jesus does not call us to give up trying to live the Law of Love, just that we have a divine partner to do so.
When Jesus invites his followers to rest into his yoke, he invites us not to give up, but to hold on tighter. Hold on to Jesus, and the laws of God are easier to follow. It may not sound like rest but remember that God’s law requires taking one seventh day off to rest. Oh, and all that the non-rest stuff of being good? Being yoked to God helps with that, too. Trying to figure out the best choices, how to lead, how to tell others that God loves them in this hostile world, how to care for your family, how to be a good citizen, how to live a life that is a visible sign that you believe in Jesus—all that is shared by none other than God! It is wise to ask for help in our choices. It is wisdom to come home to Jesus to rest and recuperate before heading back to work.
When we are working alone, pushing through without rest, it is easy to fail. This weekend’s passage from Romans reminds us of how difficult it is to do the right thing, even when we know we should, even when we want to. So, we need help. You might say we need to phone a friend, which is exactly what I did this week. My friend Shannon Scott teaches yoga and guides people on a healing path in a variety of ways. As I shared some of my struggles to make the best choices for all of you and how this passage spoke to that struggle, she agreed. Shannon writes:
All I can say is, make sure you are taking care of yourself, giving yourself what you need to feel strong and restored.
I think what Jesus is saying is that if you draw very close to him and truly live in his love, then somehow you are not as affected by the fear and the hype and the workings of the world. “Be IN the world but not OF it.” Everyone has a heavy burden right now, but it becomes lighter with faith in someone greater than us, and in ASKING for help from that higher power.
Yep, taking that yoke means asking for help and knowing it will be there.
This Sunday’s bulletin cover has the “Christ the Redeemer” statue from Brazil—Jesus is high on the mountaintop, overlooking Rio de Janeiro, arms spread out in love. Brazil is using that beautiful monument to connect with a weary world. On it they have displayed images of the flags of the world where countries were battling Covid-19, and images of healthcare workers with the word “Thanks” in many languages. They want the world to hear what Jesus says: Bring me your sick ones and your tired doctors and your afraid citizens—I’ve got them!
Perhaps you are tired or weary. Perhaps you’ve got this under control, but something else is a struggle. Remember the wise choice is to seek help from those around you, and of course, from Jesus, who stands before us with his arms open wide pleading, “Come home! You who are weary, come home! Don’t try to do it on your own! Whether you rest or you work, do it yoked with me, and you will find rest for your souls.” My friends, remember, you are not alone. Come home to Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Liturgical material © 2017 Augsburg Fortress; used by permission of Augsburg Fortress, #SAS009239. Copyright Acknowledgments (CCLI License # 2800659 and One License # 710443-A) for print and broadcast.