A colleague of mine in the ELCA’s Conference of Bishops posted a beautiful prayer today. It’s called, “A Prayer For: The Exhausted.” I shared an image of the prayer on my Facebook page as soon as I saw it. It spoke to me, especially in light of the fact that I’m attempting to take a few days off for the first time in several weeks. I’m not sure if I’m exhausted, but I’m definitely a little tired. As I’ve offered this prayer today, Jesus’ words from Matthew’s gospel echo between the prayer’s poetic verses.
Jesus said, “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.”(Matthew 11:28-30)
Being called to serve in the church is difficult in the best of times. I’m not sure what kind of times we are walking through today, but the best of times might not be the first descriptive word most pastors, deacons, church staff, or volunteer church leaders would use? This truth is compounded by the ongoing reality of COVID-19; our daily struggle to navigate digital and in-person worlds; the seemingly unending cycle of political rhetoric; and a million other things that seek our attention. In my first few months serving as a Bishop, the conversations I’ve had with church leaders usually don’t involve joyful exhortations because everything is going exactly as they had planned.
But God is faithful. And God is still God. Jesus is still Jesus. And Jesus will always be our Savior. May Jesus’ words in Matthew’s gospel remind us that we don’t walk this journey alone – in the best of times and in every other time that we encounter along the way. As tired, or maybe even exhausted, as we are sometimes, remember…we are never alone. Thanks be to God!
Together we pray…