PostScript: Lockdown relaxed?
A reflection on Matthew 11.18-19 in the middle of lockdown.
There are just some people that you cannot please. In Matthew 11.18-19 Jesus contrasts his approach with that of John: ‘For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’
Last week Bournemouth beach was filled with people seeking to enjoy the sunshine while parents are reluctant to send their children to school. Safety is contrasted with normality; economics seem to be in conflict with health. Jesus offers wisdom in verses 25-30. He begins by thanking God and that could be the way in which we begin by reflecting on our own context and what there is to thank God for.
Jesus then recognises our vulnerability by inviting those who are weary to come to him and promising them rest. Weariness can have a multitude of causes and can manifest itself in a variety of ways. The impact of Covid-19 and lockdown has been mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Its toll should be recognised and, in that context, Jesus’ offer taken seriously: ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’
Loving Lord, you invite us and welcome us
whether we are singing joyfully or weeping mournfully.
To you we bring ourselves, our community and our world.
For those who rejoice and are filled with energy
give ways to express their joy wisely and compassionately.
For those who are worried and apprehensive
grant wisdom and peace.
For those who are eager to be out and about, to be with others, to be sociable,
grant sensitivity and patience.
For those who are exhausted in body or in spirit,
let the lightness of being yoked to you bring comfort and encouragement.
Enable us and all decision makers to see the wider picture
and to respond with your wisdom.
In your name we pray.
With your family/household gathered together, ask everyone to think of something they want to thank God for. One person starts by saying: ‘I want to thank God for…’. The next person repeats what the first person said and then adds their own thanks.
Continue round the group – each person remembering and repeating what all the previous people said, before adding their own – until someone ‘drops out’. You can make this serious or a lot of fun!
Stuart Wild is a minister in the Bolton and Rochdale Methodist District.
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