“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.” Matt. 11
As we celebrate Independence Day this weekend, we lift every voice to the dawn’s early light and the words of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew. Leaving behind the worn-out broken paths and unbearable burdens of our own lives, is counter to what the gods of this world, to which we have yoked ourselves, promise and proclaim. And this invitation to his yoke and burden is not without cost. Total humility before God and one another is the price of true freedom. Who is not weary, and does not want rest? The challenge of fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all is clear. And far from being merely comfortable words, Jesus’ invitation is a call to action, echoing the words of the prophets before him, and Amos’ cup of rushing waters of justice and righteousness. We are ‘prisoners of hope’ the prophet Zechariah reminds us as he pointed to an anointed donkey rider whose blood – even in rejection – would seal God’s covenant. The great Roman Catholic monk, Thomas Merton wrote, ‘To hope is to risk frustration. Make up your mind to risk frustration.’ So, the risk and the cost are clear in the promise of Jesus the Hope Incarnate.
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor, grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit as we pray today for our nation:Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to us and the leaders of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.