Worship at Home Sunday 5th July

Welcome to our worship at home this week This week we are pleased to welcome Helen Edwards as our preacher. Helen is a Local Preacher in the Gloucestershire Circuit.

Worship at home for 5th July 2020

Short Reflection on Matthew 11: 28-30 

by Local Preacher, Helen Edwards

We find ourselves living in very strange times at the moment, don’t we?  Times that most of us will have never encountered before.  I wonder what you have missed most during this pandemic?  I imagine for the majority of people that will be friends, family, spending time with loved ones.  Perhaps for us it might be coming to church, having the freedom to go out to eat, to go out for the day, even to go on holiday?  One of the things that I’ve missed most during this time is live sport on tv.  One of my favourite things to do is to watch sport.  I’ve missed watching football matches, watching the grands prix and I was so disappointed when the Olympics for this year were cancelled, even though it was the right thing to do and had to happen.  

I first got into watching sport when I was about 11, and from that time on I have irritated my family every year in August by insisting on avidly watching either the Olympics, the Commonweath Games or the Athletics World or European Championships!  Whenever we book a holiday, it always seems to coincide with something I want to see and therefore subject everyone else to!

I can remember, a number of years ago now, watching a British athlete called Derek Redmond running in the 1992 Olympics.  He always seemed like he was on the verge of glory on a world stage but seemed to get injured, he’d already had 8 operations on injuries before the 1992 Olympics.  He held the British record for the 400m and leading up to the Olympics that year he’d had a great season and looked to be a contender.  He was the fastest of all the runners in the first round and won his quarter final.  Everything seemed to be going right for him, finally.  He started well, and was in contention down the back straight when suddenly his hamstring tore and he fell to the ground in agony, clutching his leg.  The race went on without him.  All of Derek’s dreams came crashing down at that moment; he probably knew that he wouldn’t make it to another Olympic Games – his chance was over.  Everything he’d worked for, all the effort he’d put into training and all the sacrifices he’d made came crashing down with him.

How often do we feel like that?  That our world has come crashing down around us and we are about as low as we can get.  Our hopes and dreams have shattered and we’re left broken on the ground.  For many of us, this time of lockdown has felt like that at times.  For each of us, our circumstances will be different but we’ve all felt that sense of loss and grief, that feeling of brokenness as we’ve seen the destruction this virus has brought to our loved ones, our world and our communities.

As we begin to unlock, as restrictions are removed, it may feel hard to stand up and try again.  We may feel weighed down by all that has happened, making it a real struggle for us to run the race again.  But Jesus says to us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”  Bring those worries, those pressures and that deep sense of loss to me; I will take them from you and give you rest, give you peace and help you to get to your feet and walk again.  When Jesus left the earth, he sent his Spirit to be always with us, alongside us in all that we do – guiding, leading, supporting and healing.  

Derek Redmond lay on the track, in the 1992 Olympic Games, broken.  But that was not the way he wanted to finish his last Olympics.  He struggled to his feet and began, in terrible pain, to hobble towards the finish line.  Then suddenly there was a great commotion in the crowd; a man was trying to get onto the track – pushing through the rows of officials.  They finally let him by and he ran to Derek.  Derek turned and saw his father and collapsed into his arms.  His father took his weight and together they finished the race that Derek had set out to run.

God’s Spirit is waiting to lift and carry each one of us, to take our burdens and replace them with the weight of his love, bringing rest, peace, strength and hope for the future.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”  

Prayer

Father God, we bring to you today our cares, concerns and stresses.  All the things that worry us and weigh us down, stopping us from truly living life as you intended – life in all its fullness.  In a moment of quiet, we name those burdens before you now…  Thank you that you lift our burdens and replace them with peace, a deep peace that allows our spirits to rest – to rest free in the knowledge that you carry our worries and hold them close to your heart.  Fill us with your peace today we pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Published by andrewpbiggs

Methodist minister currently serving the Gloucestershire Circuit. Married to Julie. Enjoy reading and playing the guitar badly.

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