July 9, 2017
Pentecost 5A
Romans 7:15-25;
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

 

This week the lectionary takes us to the very heart of the matter, St. Paul exclaims, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. ….”

 

I don’t know about you but this is one piece of scripture that resonates deeply within me. It rings true in the simple everyday things that I struggle with like eating foods that are good for me and the really big things like leading a simple and just life that bears witness to the Kingdom and contributes to the good and peace of all people. I struggle with great and noble intentions and the ability to follow through and put those things into faithful practice.

 

In desperation Paul cries out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? And then he reveals the answer, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

 

      1. This Old Heart

 

 

This old heart, is tired and I don’t think I can take anymore
This old heart, is lonely, down and out on the floor
This old heart, is yours now, I surrender, open the door

 

I don’t understand my own actions
I don’t understand the things I do
There’s a darkness that whispers in my ear
There’s a darkness that knows all my fears

 

This old heart, is tired and I don’t think I can take anymore
This old heart, is lonely, down and out on the floor
This old heart, is yours now, I surrender, open the door

 

I used to think I didn’t need anyone
I used to think I was so strong
I was gonna climb that ladder to heaven
I was gonna rise up out of my sin

 

This old heart, is tired and I don’t think I can take anymore
This old heart, is lonely, down and out on the floor
This old heart, is yours now, I surrender, open the door

 

Oh wretched one that I am
Who will rescue me from death?
“Come to me,” I hear the voice say
“Come to me, I will show you the way.”

 

This old heart, is tired and I don’t think I can take anymore
This old heart, is lonely, down and out on the floor
This old heart, is yours now, I surrender, open the door

 

 

 

Paul’s answer, “Jesus,” might seem naïve and simplistic but it’s not, its actually quite radical and extremely counter cultural!   “Jesus” is not a magical solution to life’s struggles but rather an invitation to let go of an isolated life to be a part of the family of God. To surrender to Jesus is to surrender to the arrogant notion that somehow, through sheer determination and self will, we can get it all done all by our self. To surrender to Jesus is to turn away from the belief that we need to be that “rugged individualist” who can pull themselves up by their own boot straps. To surrender to Jesus is to let go of our over inflated personality and place our true self into a community that will increase our faith, make us stronger, and allow us to more fully live out the calling of the gospel in our life.

 

Hearts weren’t made to do the hard work of “life” all alone. Hearts weren’t made out of cold gray stone but rather a tender and ironically strong vulnerability that demands a deep connection. Hearts were made to be shared deeply with each other, and it is in that deep sharing that hearts open us up to the very strong presence of God.

 

In this week’s Gospel Jesus bids us, “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.” I’m not sure life is ever easy, but it is certainly easier, and the burden is lighter, when it is shared with others, when we choose to live life together, when we participate in the faithful practice of community.

 

Thank God that in Christ Jesus, in and through the waters of baptism, we have all been made brothers and sisters in the family of God, members of the Body of Christ, a faith filled community where God is present in grace and love.

 

May we all find the strength and courage to surrender our fallen desire for isolation, our need to be rugged individualists, and our need to do it all by ourselves; and instead put our trust, our hope, and our very lives in the grace filled hands of a faith filled community that gathers as the very presence of our Risen Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

 

If you like this devotion please share it with others via the Facebook button at the bottom of this page! This week’s song, albums, and other songs by Greg, are available on Bandcamp! Get the music free! Greg’s music is listed for “name your own price.” Just choose $0, and download the song or album.

https://gregronning.bandcamp.com/album/sweet-holy-love

 

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