Scripture Text (NRSV)
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
11:16 "But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in
the marketplaces and calling to one another,
11:17 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not
11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon';
11:19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a
drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her
11:25 At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed
them to infants;
11:26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son
except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son
chooses to reveal him.
11:28 "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I
will give you rest.
11:29 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. 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is
The invitation on the base of the Statue of Liberty might no longer be quite valid. The promise to welcome the huddled masses to this land is empty, in most cases. If we do not welcome the huddled masses, what promise is there for them? What promise is there for us, when this already free land cannot offer complete protection from persecutors?
The promise for them, and the promise for us, is one that will never become stale or invalid. The promise that remains is the promise of Jesus, Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. No matter what the suffering, no matter what the persecution, no matter what the loss of life, Jesus remains as the one who will give us rest, as the one who will pick us up when we are bowed down under the burdens life gives us, as the one who saves us.
This is true freedom.
Are not the burdens Jesus is speaking of those placed upon them by the Pharisees? All those rules!
I was once reminded that we do the same thing as clergy. We lay a lot of guilt on people if they miss one single event the church offers. A friend of mine who retired recently said, "We expect people to keep the Sabbath and spend time with their families. Yet, when do we schedule events?
You got it - on the Sabbath!"
Another thought --As clergy we wear a stole. This reminds us of the burden that Jesus has given us as his disciples. PH in OH
This is way off topic but I would like the opinion of those who preach the lectionary cycle if you post on the discussion board that's fine, I'll pick it up there.
I normally preach every other week, I won't be preaching this coming week but on the 17th my pastor is going into hospital to have his other hip replaced. He's to be out of commission for about 7 weeks. First I'd like to ask for your prayers for a speedy recovery and for me that I rely upon God as acting pastor.
My real problem: The little homiletics I received stressed that the homily should not contain too much in the way of personal illustration. What I have found in 10 years of preaching is that when I draw upon my own life experiences for illustrations it seems that the message come across. I'm not sure what the reasoning that was given for not using your own story. What are your thoughts- does effective preaching have to be impersonal?
PS several parishioners say that they like the homilies better with the personal references.
Deke in TX - Pace e Bene
Re verses 16-19: Perhaps it is saying that
there are some folks you just cannot please! :-)
I really liked the comment from Michelle regarding the connection with verses 28-30 with the statement on the Statute of Liberty. Truly, God through Jesus is the only way to peace and fulfillment, to rest and freedom.
Deke, if there is something in your individual history as you preach this week that speaks to that, by all means use it!
We have been sent out like the 12 to preach the Good News. I believe that the people responded to the disciples because they shared from their PERSONAL experiences as well.
May God bless our thoughts and the inspirations of our hearts this week - as we seek to bring a message of hope and freedom in this time of fear and bondage.
Peace to you all, Betty in NY
Deke, my homiletics teacher told me that it is okay, actually good to use personal experiences, as long as you are not seeking the sympathy of the congregation, or needing them to take care of you as you go through a crisis... if you have worked through your trial and can point to God at the end of it... using yourself as an illustration... always asking permission of family or people in the congregation before you use them as an example. Make sure you are spiritually and emotionally healthy (although there is nothing wrong in saying, "I'm struggling right now," as long as you are not expecting the congregation to take care of you). Hope this helps
RevD in BG
Deke, there is a story told of an older church member who cornered the new pastor after the service. Her advice to him was to the point: "I didn't come to hear you tell me what God has said to other people. I want to know what God has said to you. I didn't come to hear you tell me what God has done in other people's lives -- I want to know what God has done in your life."
As for the passage this week, it has struck me that some people are too clever for their own good, even too clever to be holy! Why else do some show such caution as to not dance when the tune in being played, or not share in the suffering of those who mourn? It is hard work, and a heavy burden, to always feel that we have to be one step (at least) ahead of those around us, rather than simply present with them -- as Christ is present with us.
For me, this passage speaks about the dilemma of the paradox of truth. Just like God's word is a two-edged sword, so is confusion. People are never satisfied, and no matter what occurs in life, there will be those who always find the negative.
This constant to-ing and fro-ing is what wears people out. They get tired of the constant bickering and disputing over who is right and who is wrong. We see this best in the political sphere. No matter what one party might say, the other party will dispute it, often whether it is correct or not.
Jesus offers an alternative. An inclusiveness that embraces all the options and unites them in the grace of God's overarching love for humankind.
The Church will never satisfy people's demands, because no matter what we offer it will never be enough, or it will too much.
As Jesus observes, little children don't have any of this problem, because they simply accept life and the people and events that are placed in front of them. Oh for people like that as a priest! But then again??? Do you see what I mean.
We come to Christ, because we are tired with the constant round of decisions. That was the curse of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It wears us out with attempting to discern what is good and proper and right.
I am so pleased to rest in Christ, when the occasion presents itself.
KGB in Aussie.
I'm on vacation and I'm not preaching this weekend... still, I would ask for prayers for a member of my church who was on a fishing trip in the wilderness area of Canada... he, his brother and their two sons were alone on a lake, 1/2 mile portage by foot... a wave hit the "fathers" boat while the sons were up ahead. The wave through the one father (my parishoner) into his brother, throwing them both overboard. The boat was stuck on full throttle... circling... the two men were clinging to a seat cushion. The one brother (my parishoner) got a cramp in his leg and went down... his brother could not save him. The brother thinks now he may have suffered a heart attack prior to going "under". This happened a week ago today... they finally found the body Sunday.
The parishoner had a wife, and two grown children... thankfully the son did not witness his father going under water. Still, the brother of the deceased did and is having a very difficult time...well, then again, they all are.
Family and friends and co-workers need prayers. The funeral is NEXT Monday... and I'll be home by then (we're on vacation). Any prayers will be appreciated...thanks...
pulpitt in ND