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Pentecost Season 2017

 

Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ;

 

The prophet Jeremiah records these words: “For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” (Jer.31) As we approach the wonderful summer months, our calendars are rapidly filling up.  It seems that instead of finding rest and renewal both physically and spiritually, we are preparing for a summer lived at mach speed.  The great Christian writer Augustine gives us this profound quote: “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.” 

 

In the life of the Church, the summer months’ envelope about ½ of the Pentecost Season.  Throughout Pentecost, God’s people recognize the gifts and fruits of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  As disciples of Christ, His Spirit works through Word and Sacraments to both satisfy and replenish the weary and languishing soul.  Jesus invites us in the Gospels to “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11) 

 

When you read the Gospel of St. Mark, you often find the word “immediately.”  Mark gives us the image of Jesus moving from one event to another.  In the midst of this rapidly moving gospel, Mark tells us this about Jesus; He said to His disciples, ““Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”  Is your life ever so busy and rushed that you “eat on the run” or miss meals because there is so much to get accomplished? 

 

In the Ten Commandments, God invites us to “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy. (Exodus 20).  In Luther’s Small Catechism, we are reminded that our worship life is critically important in the fulfillment of this commandment.  Do you ever find yourself staying away from a precious gift of God that will help you find rest and renewal?  Across America, the summer months find dwindling worship attendance.  It seems that God’s people are sometimes trying to renew themselves apart from Word and Sacrament Ministry.  The writer of Hebrews reminds us that “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4)

 

May this summer find your faith in Christ deepened as you embrace Sabbath rest for your life.  May your devotional life and worship thrive as you find again and again God’s word speaking to your heart and offering you peace, rest, and renewal.  I conclude this note with a passage from Isaiah 40 that has always touched my heart, “God gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

 

A blessed summer of rest and renewal to each of you,

 

Pastor Michael McFarland

pastormcfarland@elcsmail.org