Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Wednesday Weekly Devotional

By Pastor Sarah Winter

I write this devotional in a state of emotional exhaustion.  This season of unknowns and uprisings is feeling endless and I am having a hard time remembering the “before” yet can’t very easily picture the “after”.  Every week seems to pose a new variety of questions and decisions, from what are we going to do today to make it feel any different from the day before (if I can even remember what day it is!!), to is it safe to go to a gathering and, even more, is it safe to send my kids to school in a few weeks.  My brain and heart have been operating at levels that often feel like they are pouring out more quickly than they can be re-filled.

There is a part of me that is hesitant to share these words…. Often in our society we must wear a mask that shows that we always have it together; that we are able to do it all, all of the time.  I believe Holy Spirit is prompting me to remove my mask for a moment and say that you can too…. It’s okay.

At the end of Matthew Chapter 9 and continuing through Chapter 10 we see Jesus sending his disciples out to spread the word and preparing them for the challenges that they will face.  In Matthew 9:37 he says to his disciples “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”  Jesus then goes on to tell them that they are not to take any money on their journey, nor extra bag with a change of clothes.  They are to rely on the goodness of strangers to provide food and shelter, and if hospitality isn’t shared they are to leave and walk on.  They will be “sheep among wolves” (Matt. 10:16), sure to be arrested and flogged.  They will be hated by everyone and when persecuted must flee.  Then with these warnings Jesus tells them to go out and fill those they meet with the love and promises of God.

I wonder how often the disciples felt emotional exhaustion.  How often their hungry stomachs and weary feet made them feel unable to take the steps forward into a situation that they knew would be challenging, even possibly life threatening.  How often they just needed to sit and be filled, as they were running on empty.  How often they just laid down and prayed the words “help me.”

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus tells us “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yolk is easy and my burden is light.”  These are some of my favorite words in the Bible.  Hearing them is like listening to a gentile babbling brook flowing through a breezy field of flowers, with the golden hour sunshine filling my soul.  Jesus is acknowledging the challenges of life that threaten to deplete our energy and emotions and is calling us to him to be rejuvenated.  He is allowing us to take of our masks and rest in him for as long as we need to. 

I invite you to accept Jesus’ invitation along with me this week.   To be in open conversation with Jesus, taking our emotions to him as we pray – maybe even more often than we have prayed in the past.  Holy Spirit knows our words and needs before we are able to name them ourselves, we just need to open our hearts and give ourselves over to God’s grace and unconditional love.  I pray that in accepting this invitation from Jesus we can become closer to him as our souls are refilled and rejuvenated.