Matthew 11:28-30 – 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. (NIV)
There's that wonderful hymn entitled "I heard the voice of Jesus say" that periodically punctuates worship services. The hymn deals with themes of weariness and rest in the God who provides abundantly for His people. A place of rest, a place of refuge, or a place of peace is rather striking and so needed in an age when nothing moves quickly enough.
I was a bystander in an application of this hymn some time ago. Periodically, I have the privilege of taking part in the worshipping life of the Carefree Manor house church, part of the Cariboo Presbyterian House Church mission. Two of our people have responded to God's hand at work at that seniors' residence, and a lively and worshipful Christian community has blossomed! So I periodically participate alongside these brothers and sisters in Christ in their worship service. It's a blessing to me to do so.
This particular Sunday, the service was going along swimmingly. We'd had our extended time of singing praise to God. Bruce had led us in the pastoral prayers. And then I shared something of the Word of God, arising out of Jesus breaking the bread and sharing the fish, generally known as the feeding of the 5000.
Partway through the preaching, he appeared. He was an older guy with a coffee in his hand, a pleasant manner, and a question. Could he come in? A number of us responded, "Sure, come on in. There's lots of room!" So the guy found a seat and the sermon continued. After that, I anointed the assembled flock, seeking God's particular care and work on each life as God chose. We then celebrated the communion meal and gathered the time up in prayer and benediction.
It was then that the guy who had shown up at the door spoke. He told another chap that he really wasn't sure why he was here in the worship. Apparently he'd been in his room with his door closed. He'd heard a voice very clearly outside his door speak a friend's name — Joe Smith. The chap opened his door immediately because he wanted to connect with Joe Smith, but no one was there. "Funny," he thought. But he'd heard his friend's name spoken, so he went looking for whoever spoke his friend's name, to see if his friend were in Carefree Manor.
The chap got out to the foyer, but no one was there. So he went along a bit to the common room. And there he found us. We invited him in, and he participated in worship, and was welcomed.
"Hhummph" went the speculation. The guy was hearing things; it must have been his medication; the staff better alert the doctor to monitor the medication so the guy doesn't hear things again.
Strange how Jesus gets people to worship … speaking the name of a friend and drawing someone out of their room into the possibility of fellowship with Himself and His people …
- I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
And all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my star, my sun;
And in that light of life I'll walk
Till travelling days are done.
- – Horatius Bonar
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to be sensitive to what it is You want to say to us today, and give us the grace to be obedient to what we hear. Amen.