And it’s from the old I travel to the new….
The words of ” One more step along the world I go” have been echoing around my head and heart for the last few days. They have popped up in Facebook memories from Sherburn-In -Elmet where we celebrated a Church Anniversary adopting that hymn as our theme. They came up recently at North Shore Methodist Church where we celebrated 109 years of ministry on the current site and are looking to the future, and they are echoing in my head as I prepare to move from one city to another this summer.
Once again I am reminded that life is not static of settled, and that we are all in the process of journeying in one way or another. In that light I am led to reflect upon my favourite Scripture in a new way.
Matthew 11: 28-30:
“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.”
How easy it is to read the first part of that only and look to that invitation to rest without the implications of continued journey with a shared burden. The picture given is not one of stopping and collapsing in a heap but of sharing and relief, rest is found in not going on alone! Now I am challenged, because today a friend offered me help, and my first reaction was to say no! No I am Okay! I don’t really need help. I don’t want to be a bother to you!
Back to those words, “Keep me travelling along with you!” WITH , that word hits me like a brick and stops me in my stubborn tracks. I may live alone but I do not need to be alone, and if help is genuinely offered and it was then who am I to put up my defences and say no! Twice as I have moved to new Circuits I have chosen the hymn “Brother Sister let me serve you”, and am now reminded that it contains the lines:
…pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.
We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.
The words of Christ come back to me then, “Come to me”, come to me as I come to you in my servants, listen to the still small voice within and dare to admit your need of companionship, of community, of being a part of something. Come to me, let me take your burden, and let me bring others who will lift that burden with me, as me.
On Sunday I preached on touching places, on how we often miss the times when heaven and earth meet, and of how by being open to receiving the Spirit of Christ we to become touching places and channels of grace for one another. The disciples were not diminished by the departure of the physical Christ among them, instead they were about to be enlarged to become the physical Christ in the power of the Spirit as they received his life into theirs. I reflect then that it is when I close myself off and become overly self-sufficient that I become weary. I need Christ, and I need his body here and now to walk with me, and that means that I too am needed and have my part to play in the journey of others.
Right now I am pretty exhausted, these last weeks have been full of emotion, so I am going to rest as I journey on… so be warned, if you offer to help me I will probably say yes!