Dictionary.com gives a few different definitions for renewal, but there are two I want to reflect on.
The first being “an instance of resuming an activity or state after an interruption.” I think it’s fair to say that Covid-19 was a little bit of an interruption of not only church, but every aspect of our lives. It’s been a difficult year in the sense of navigating waters we’ve never journeyed before, struggling with isolation and lack of community, and anxiousness around the unknown timeline of all those elements. Yet, we live as people of hope and renewal each and every day because of Christ. This week we begin a season of renewal as we return to singing in person! What a joy it will be when our voices are raised together once again to sing praises to God. Psalm 105:2 says, “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts”. Not only will our voices proclaim the goodness of God, but we can honestly reflect on the difficulties of this year and how God’s faithfulness remained amidst it all.
The second definition it offers is, “the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, rundown, or broken.” Friends, let me tell you this one is me. My heart has felt rundown and worn out from the last year, and I believe many of us feel that. The work of coming back from the pandemic, working towards justice and peace in our communities, and the work of moving forward together in our denomination has taken it’s toll on many of us. Here’s the good news: Jesus fully knew that this world would offer difficulties, and because of that offered us an invitation to not got at it alone. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “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.” Jesus offers us rest, not by taking us out of our situations but by bearing the load with us. There is no point where our burden can outdo Jesus. At His most vulnerable moments, Jesus invites the disciples to the table for a meal, yes even Judas and Peter. As we come to Christ’s table for communion this week, remember that it is Jesus who invites you to bring every part of your lives to Him, and He will give you rest!
I invite you to pray this prayer with me:
“Lord, thank You for the rest You give us. You know my greatest burden, and You take it as Your own. May the way I live, be a response of gratitude and renewal.
In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen.”
Pastor Taylor Johnson