Come and Find Rest

Sunday, July 6

7-6By Larry McGuire of Marion, Iowa, USA

“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’…Come to me, all you that 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 11:16–17, 28–30 NRSV

The day had been stressful. I serve on an advisory committee for our community’s board, which supports human-service agencies in our county. Our task for this meeting: settle the budget we would present to officials for the next fiscal year.

The requests for funding far outpaced the budget, and the dollars would not cover the needs. Would we cut funding for early childhood care and education, or would we cut the budget for the frail and elderly? Would we revamp our detention services, which would result in job losses? Would we reduce staff support and increase stressful case-loads?

While driving to the meeting, I listened to music, trying to calm my mind and prepare for how we would tackle this task. As we prepared our budget, we were aware our decisions would impact lives and services. People already were clinging desperately to hope.

As I turned into the parking lot, “Be Still” by The Fray came on the radio, and my soul drank in the words by Isaac Slade: “When darkness comes upon you, and colors you with fear and shame, be still and know that I’m with you, and I will say your name”

We proceeded, trying to have the minimal impact on people’s lives. We protected the vulnerable, who often cry out amid noise that drowns out their pleas. In today’s scripture passage, Jesus compares the situation of his day to people performing but no one paying attention. People making excuses and no one caring about outcomes, only wanting their own way. He then moves from condemnation to prayer and says, “Come…and I will give you rest.”

As I left the meeting, I replayed the song, which blessed me with this closing verse: “If you forget the way to go, and lose where you came from, if no one is standing beside you, be still and know I am.”

Prayer for Peace God of blessings and burdens, guide us into stillness so our burden will be eased.

Spiritual Practice: Abolish Poverty, End Suffering Let your mind be drawn to places where people have no homes. Think of refugees whose homes were destroyed by war or natural disaster. Be aware of the hungry and homeless, who wander the streets or live in shelters. Let the images fill your prayers.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will learn from you and try to ease the burdens of a suffering soul.

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