Lenten Theme Hymn: "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say," ELW 332
1I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting-place,
and he has made me glad.
2I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one;
stoop down and drink and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.
3I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
look unto me, your morn shall rise,
and all your day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk
till trav'ling days are done.
Text: Horatius Bonar, 1808-89 (Public Domain)
The opening lines of this hymn recall one of the most comforting verses in all the Gospels: "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Jesus characterizes discipleship as rest, for his yoke is easy and his burden light (Matthew 11:30). What an important thing to remember during Lent, when well-meaning acts of penitence and introspection can weigh down our spirits and make us feel unworthy. What an important promise to highlight in Matthew's Gospel, a book that also includes numerous reminders of God's judgment.
The rest inherent in Christian discipleship is not about passivity or apathy. It is about living in unburdened freedom, dwelling secure in Jesus' love and acceptance, and discovering in his embrace the joy that comes from surrendering to God and seeking the well-being of all God's children.
Welcoming God, give us comfort in the knowledge that you know and heal all the wrongs we have suffered. Give us forgiveness and freedom to make amends for the wrongs we commit. Give us courage to extend your grace into a broken world. Amen.