“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus of Nazareth

This is an outrageous and brazen claim. At first read, it almost sounds like some cutesy, hang-it-above-the-toilet, faux-sentimental saying. But in reality, it’s statements like this that eventually led to Jesus’ arrest and execution.

He has this assertion that ALL can come. It might make sense to say this to a child or a spouse or a close friend. We can offer comfort and safety to a few people in some circumstances. But to offer rest to everyone, that’s something else entirely.

To make matters worse, he seems to be offering himself as the source of the rest. As in, he is in possession of peace, and it’s his to give away. This sort of talk drove the Pharisees insane with anger.

“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.”

Either Jesus was delusional, or these are some of the most beautiful words ever spoken. I believe in their beauty, and I believe that the promise of rest is as true for us now as it was for those who heard Jesus speak.

I’m sure it’s occurred to you that this weekend marks one year since everything shut down. We didn’t know it yet, but a year ago today was the last day of school for most. A year ago, this Sunday, we had our first virtual church service. I remember some sleepless nights last March. In those first few weeks, we didn’t have a good grasp on what life was going to look like or even how contagious the virus really was. We were used to living with the illusion that we could safely predict the future, at least the near future, and all of sudden, that security was gone.

I know there are some folks reading this who got sick with COVID and others of you lost a loved one. In no way do I want to gloss over that or minimize your loss. Still, I think it’s safe to say that we are beginning to see a new normal. At the very least, our collective anxiety about the pandemic is dissipating. Some of you would say too quickly while others would say not quickly enough. We’re learning that even in a global pandemic, “This, too, shall pass.”

And yet…a sobering reminder…

Other trials will come. More heartache awaits us in the future. There will again be challenges to face. Some of you, I know, are facing some horribly tough situations right now…family dissension or sickness.

And yet…

No matter what, this promise of Jesus still stands.

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The creator of peace Himself is offering to give you rest. And the ever-present invitation to us is to ask.

Jeremy Neckers

Jeremy Neckers

Jeremy Neckers is the Administrative Pastor at Commonway. Originally from southwestern New York, Jeremy moved to Muncie in the early 90s with his parents and sister. After graduating from Delta High School, he earned a degree in chemistry and biology from Ball State in 2002.  While Jeremy has been a part of Commonway since its inception, he spent a number of years as a middle school math & science teacher before joining the staff. He and his wife, Maggie, live in Muncie with their two daughters.

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