Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
As we were driving down from Lake Junaluska in the Great Smoky Mountains last week, headed for the flatlands of coastal North Carolina, we passed a church sign that read, “A thrill of hope, the wary world rejoices!” And I smiled as I thought that clearly the word was meant to be “weary”, and someone needed either a proof reader or spell check. (Although spell check does no good if one uses the wrong word but spells it correctly. I remember when I once posted in a church bulletin that “our choir will be among those sinning at the conclusion of the Festival.” Actually, they were going to be singing). But the more I thought about the state of our world, the more I thought that perhaps that word, wary, had not been a mistake. I find myself wary – suspicious, mistrustful, careful – of what I hear and read every day. Is the vaccine for COVID-19 safe? Is it available? Are stimulus checks getting to the people who need them most? Will there be another Stay-at-Home order? Why do people not want to wear masks? How do I know that all the causes that ask me for money are legitimate? (But I know that if I give to UMCOR or other UMC organizations my $$$ goes directly to help someone who needs it).
I am also wary of the things I do every day. Is it safe to carry something I have baked to my even-more-elderly-than-me neighbors? If I go into a grocery store will there be people without masks? If I go to have my nails done or into Belk’s will I be risking my health? Or will I be spreading disease to someone else? And I will admit to being a bit wary of the new strain of COVID that has now been found in our country.
And I will also admit to being weary of being so careful, and of not seeing folks in person.
I love online worship, and being able to worship with various churches I have served over the years. And I love hearing many different preachers as they deliver God’s word to God’s people. Yet, I am also a bit weary of that. I want to worship with a congregation, and belt out the hymns (however off-key…I don’t think God minds), and join in the prayers and creeds together with people I know and love.
Well, I guess most of us are both weary and wary of the world right now. But there is reason to rejoice. Our Lord is still with us, and will never forsake us. And though we may not see one another in person much now, we all have our sisters and brothers in Christ to pray with us and for us. And as the seasons turn, the beauty of the earth around us remains. Let’s all count our blessings instead of our troubles, and lean upon our Lord in whom we find rest for our souls.
New Year’s blessings, my friends.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer. (UMH 526)
Dear Lord, help us to realize the beauty of each day, and help us to see the blessings each days contains. Thank you for bearing our burdens with us and for us, and for giving rest to weary souls. Amen.
Pastor Rachel Moser