Living in Rhythm – Br. Luke Ditewig
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“Come to me, all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
We may expect Jesus to say: Stop. Breathe. Come away by yourselves.[i] Yet in this passage, Jesus says: “I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.”
The yoke is an object of work, keeping two animals together to share strength. Jesus is saying: Work with me. Learn from me. Restoration comes from working my way.[ii] This way, this rhythm of life, will bring you more fully to life.
Jesus’ way, his personal pattern, includes private prayer and ceasing with Sabbath rest. Jesus’ way is also in his teaching.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek and the merciful.[iii]
Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.[iv] Beware of practicing your piety before others to be seen by them.[v]
Much more than a momentary pause, Jesus offers personal relationship and a way to live with peace and freedom.
Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in The Message: “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Times of retreat both give rest right now and help us remember, rekindle how to live well day by day. Reclaim wonder and gratitude. Be honest and vulnerable in our prayer. Remember Jesus’ teaching. Be silent and listen. Return to company with Jesus who is gentle and loving. Here is real rest: walking, working, living in rhythm with Jesus.
[ii]Frederick Dale Bruner (1987) Matthew: A Commentary, Volume I. Dallas: Word Publishing, p438.
[iii]Matthew 5: 3, 5, 7
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That word ‘Rhythm’ is so good to add to one’s vocabulary in relation to being a disciple of Jesus. Other words like ‘Follow’ and ‘Imitate’ are also very handy but the idea of working rhythmically with our Lord in the inflexible bond imposed by a yoke is something else. I can remember, as a very young child, riding on an oxwagon on my Grandfather’s farm that was drawn by two oxen yoked together. In certain parts of our country it is still a relatively common sight!
A wonderful word for us in today’s individualistic society!
This is really timely. I am working to get my mom’s house in order to rent out. It’s physically exhausting but I thank God daily that I am able to do it. God is with me all the way as I edit books or paint carports. So grateful for His mercy and Grace daily!
So often Eugene Peterson paraphrases beautifully in The Message. I turn to that Bible often for a new perspective on something I’ve read so many times I that I am no longer sure what it really means, or if I’m struggling with a passage I don’t understand. The paraphrase you cite from The Message is lovely and gives me a different perspective on Jesus’ words that I’ve read so many times.
Br. Luke thanks for this very succinct sermon in which you manage to share so much of the wisdom of Jesus. I often feel overwhelmed by my responsibilities yet forget to turn to the one who has overcome the world. We are created to be in relationship with God through Jesus. In this way we find our rest, meaning and peace.