I can’t think of a more suitable text to ponder while in retreat than these words of Jesus drawn from the Gospel of Matthew. A retreat is a chance to step back from our normal routines and responsibilities, to surrender our burdens and cares to God, and to receive once again God’s healing and life-giving love. //
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself coming into the presence of Jesus, who is so gentle and so humble. Imagine him extending his arms to you, welcoming you into his embrace. Hear him say to you, “Come to me; I want to give you rest…. I see what a heavy burden you’ve been bearing and how weary you are from carrying this load. Let me take it from you. Come apart for a while, and rest.” //
What is the burden of which Jesus speaks when he addresses these words to you? What is it that you are carrying today, or that you have been carrying for weeks or months or even years? What is it that weighs so heavily upon your heart? What is it that fills you with anxiety and fear, that exhausts your mind and binds up your emotions? What burdens or cares are sapping your strength, day after day after day? // Take a moment now to identify and name them….. and then picture yourself handing them over to Christ. //
He offers us his yoke, which is easy and light. He assures us that we need not carry life’s burdens on our own. He is ready to shoulder them with us, to make light whatever it is that is weighing us down. //
“Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” The invitation is especially appropriate for those of you who have entered into retreat with us this week. But the promise is for us all, and it is offered to each of us every minute of every day. Whenever we are weighed down with care, all we need do is to hand our burden to Christ, trusting him to carry it for us and with us. As the psalmist says, “Whenever I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” (Ps 56:3, BCP 662) A simple act of trust, a simple letting go, that ushers us into the place of rest.
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