From the Manse

""Come to me, alt you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. "
Matthew 11:28-30

Dear Friends

I have over the past few weeks recalled frequently an infant baptism service that I had conducted recently. After being baptised the baby, it appeared, was about to cry due to the discomfort of the baptismal water running down his face from his head. His mother in an effort to comfort quickly placed a dummy in his mouth. It didn't work. Baby Harry quickly removed the dummy from his mouth and threw it, to the gathered congregation's amusement, straight into the font and perhaps, to his little mind, right at the offending water! It would be good if the discarding of that dummy were a sign that in the years ahead he will discover for himself a much more enduring comforter in his life.

This amusing incident later caused me to reflect that it is not only infants who in times of distress turn to their comforters. It has been suggested that 99 percent of people are addicted to something, whether it is to their work, eating, shopping, or a myriad of other things.

Someone has suggested that the hollowness we sometimes feel inside of us is not always a sign of something gone wrong. But rather sometimes it is that space inside us which longs for God - The Holy of Holies with in us. Nothing on earth can fill it, but that does not stop us from trying. Whenever we start feeling too empty inside, we stick our 'comforters' into our mouths and suck for all we are. worth. They do not nourish us for long but they can for a while appear to fill that inner hollowness. The above verses from the 11th chapter of Matthew' gospel, with its talk, of rest for the human soul, I believe speak forcefully into this world of human comforters. The widely held understanding of these verses is that following Jesus is easy. Yet, those who have walked that walk, just like the first disciples, know this to be far from the truth. The easy yoke spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 11, is not a call to an easy life but rather a call to find a purpose in our lives; a purpose which demands our all in working to see God' kingdom realised. It is in giving ourselves to this purpose and work that we find the comfort and rest for our souls that Jesus promised.

In whatever situation you find yourself at this time may you be blessed by the presence of the one who is gentle and humble in heart, Jesus Christ, our Lord, the true comforter of our souls.

With every blessing to you all.

John