Thoughts from the Vicarage 5th July, Trinity 4
Psalm 145. 8-15; Zechariah 9.9-12; Romans 7.15-25a; Matthew 11.16-19, 25-end
“I thought I was undecided, but now I’m not so sure”! Are you a good decision maker, able to weigh up the facts, work out the consequences and then get on with the job? I admire those who have that kind of confidence. Historic leaders – military, political and some who have fought for justice have been in the spotlight recently with a focus on the statues that remind us of them. Many have been re-thinking the past and trying to decide who were good or bad people. It’s all too easy to “blame and shame”. It’s not always so easy to look inside ourselves and recognise that the same kind of conflict may be going on within us as well.
Paul – writer of many of the New Testament epistles (letters) had to re-think life after his “Damascus Road” meeting with Jesus (Acts chapter 9). From then on Paul stopped persecuting Christians and became a great proclaimer of Christian faith. In Romans 7 he writes about his efforts to “do the right thing”. Ultimately, he realises that he can’t get it sorted on his own. In v.25 he writes “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord”. In other words – hand the struggles you may have back over to God.
John the Baptist and Jesus – John and Jesus were cousins. In Matthew 11 their lives have reached very different places. Jesus had just finished teaching his 12 disciples about the work they had been called to do. Meanwhile John was in prison and prevented from doing any more preaching. The general public criticized John for his simple life in the wilderness and decided he had a demon. Meanwhile they criticized Jesus for socializing and enjoying a party and called him a drunk. Sometimes you just can’t win!
Jesus was at a place where he had to take some time out talk to His Father and focus on the priorities for the next stage of His ministry. Out of this come the beautiful words – “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. Matthew 11.28.
Here are couple of hymns that may help us at the present time –
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and Rest” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rr_4M5LQLo)
Just as I am, without one plea (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcFp0-4RZzc)
Praying that God will meet with each of us this week.
Revd Jonathan Watkins
Collect for Today.
O God, the protector of all who trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that with you as our ruler and guide
we may so pass through things temporal
that we lose not our hold on things eternal;
grant this, heavenly Father,
for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.