1 John 1:5-2:2
Matthew 11:25-30


‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.’

Jesus’ invitation is not your usual type of invitation (a wedding, a party, a dinner etc.) where we put on our best appearances, bring food and drink to share or spend money on things. These latter invitations are certainly good and worthy of going to (who doesn’t love a good party??) But what Jesus is asking is that we bring our real selves to him – our poor, wounded and less-than-impressive sides of ourselves; when we feel down, confused, lost, unappreciated, tired, exploited, worried. These are real feelings that Jesus too experienced. He is not immune to the realities of life but as the Son of God he asks us to hand it all over to him and he will deal with the rest. Jesus wants us warts and all! Can this be really true? Surely we need to be perfect to be in his presence? In a society that strives for perfection, power and money this invitation is THE great antidote to all those things that are temporary and empty. He provides the ultimate rest.

In Jesus’ day those who were poor, widowed, orphaned and sick had no means of help and along with shepherds, tax collectors and prostitutes they were at the bottom of the social ladder and on the peripheries of society. Jesus went out of his way to draw them in, to cure them, to give them dignity. There may be times in our lives when we can identify as being one of these people.

Our challenge is to ‘widen our tents’ both personally and as a Church to ensure that those on the margins of our communities are brought into the centre and that all find the physical, emotional or spiritual rest they deserve. This is the ‘Yes’ to Jesus’ invitation.

Victoria Raw is parishioner of Te Whetu O Te Moana, Star of the Sea Marlborough, NZ and is active in lay ministry.