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Fourth Sunday after Trinity 

This weekend sees the re-opening of many pubs, cafés and restaurants with their invitation to come and refresh ourselves as the rigours of lockdown are eased. Many churches are also re-opening today, the very Sunday when we hear Jesus’ invitation to the weary to come to him for rest and refreshment. What do we learn from his words?

Firstly, Jesus welcomes each one of you, and wants to give you a less stressed-out existence in this world of seemingly constant pressure and ever-increasing demands. He offers us a life that is more than a treadmill. That, however, is not the same as saying that when we become Christians we have nothing more to do. “Take my yoke upon you,” he says, “and learn from me.” A yoke was a device for helping with heavy work such as for oxen hauling a plough or a milkmaid carrying her buckets.

But Jesus does not give us endless complex rules as the Pharisees did. He does not demand that we do something extraordinarily hard and difficult. Rather, he asks that we follow his example of gentleness and humility, that we give full rein to the love and generosity that are part of human nature (as so many have done in recent weeks) and leave selfishness behind. As he summed it up on another occasion: “Love one another as I have loved you.” As Paul told the Romans, it was his constant concern for himself that made following God’s way difficult, not what God asked of him.

So week by week we come to him in prayer and worship and prepare ourselves to take his yoke and continue living and working for him. As we prayed in our collect, “Draw us into harmony with your will that we may find all things restored in our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

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