Matthew 11:16-19; 25-30 (NRSV)
Verse 16"But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, Verse 17'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.' Verse 18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; Verse 19the 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."
Verse 25At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; Verse 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. Verse 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Verse 28"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Verse 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Verse 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Dad’s nurse called to ask for help. He was restless, in pain, dying of cancer. A rocking chair was beside his bed. She asked if I would sing. Holding him in my lap, I rocked as I sang “Beautiful Savior.”
His body calmed and he fell asleep. I know he recognized my voice and the beloved hymn that had been a special part of our lives. He liked to hear me sing it at home, at church—and at the close of many St. Olaf College Choir concerts.
Dad, a World War II veteran, a hardworking midwestern farmer, understood the agrarian reference when Jesus said, “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.”
Jesus shows up, wants to be yoked together with us. Yes, even sharing a rocking chair, to bring us his promised rest.
“Fair are the meadows, fair are the woodlands,
robed in flow’rs of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
he makes our sorrowing spirit sing.” (ELW 838)