Guide for Worship
July 5, 2020

Welcome

Christ calls us to worship today to rest from the things that are troubling us. Christ calls us to worship today to learn what he can teach of life. Christ calls us to worship today to realize what we can offer to others. Christ calls us to worship today to return us to the world to serve in his name and for his sake. Let us fill our homes – and the world – with the praises of God!

Gathering Music

Brethren, We Have Met to Worship – Jeff & Jon Stickley

Click on this text to view the lyrics of the song and sing along.

 

Brethren, we have met to worship
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.

Brethren, see poor sinners round you
Slumb’ring on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving,
Can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers,
And our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray and holy manna
Will be showered all around.

Sisters, will you join and help us?
Moses’ sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners
Who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior,
Tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.

Let us love our God supremely,
Let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners,
Till our God makes all things new.
Then He’ll call us home to heaven,
At His table we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself, and serve us
With sweet manna all around.

Psalm 145

Harriet Carter, Marti Jessup, Nancy Wooters, Winslow Carter, Warren Jones, Tom Amoreno and Keith Longmire

Scripture

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Meditation

Jessamine Gaul and Christopher Ingram

Listen to the sermon using the player above, or click this summary to read the complete text. An archive of this and other sermons is found on the Yates sermon page.

 

Jess:

In what ways does Jesus’ message make you uncomfortable? Maybe you can just sit with that question for a minute.

If you’re anything like me, you hate having your plans disrupted. Some of you might be more blessed with that spontaneity or that “go with the flow” attitude. But I often find myself just frustrated when things don’t go according to plan. I’m a really future-oriented person, so I often envision my next hour, my next month, my next year and what it’s going to look like. When something like the pandemic over the past few months interrupts that, it is really, really frustrating and scary. But not only with our schedules or our day-to-day rhythms – sometimes we receive disruptions in our ways of thinking and in our thought patterns and just in the way that we conduct our lives based on what we believe.

If I could ask you another question to sit with: Have there been times that you have thought to yourself, “Maybe my wisdom is a little better than God’s,” that maybe if God could just see things from your perspective he’d make the right call? Me too. All the time.

We have a lot in common with this generation of people that Jesus is speaking to in Matthew, chapter 11. God wants to speak to us still. He still wants to sit with us to make us more like him to change our ways of thinking. But it’s really easy to become comfortable in our routines and our thought patterns and just every facet of our lives. So when they’re disrupted unexpectedly, it can be scary and uncomfortable. Sometimes God brings a holy disruption to our way of thinking, to our way of living. Sometimes Jesus’ message can and should make us uncomfortable.

In this passage, Jesus is looking for a way of comparison for this generation he’s speaking to. He compares them to unhappy or unsatisfied children who are basically saying, “You didn’t act in the way that I wanted or expected you to,” which is a very common phrase that we hear – not just from children – but from a lot of people. And people treated John and Jesus the same way. They rejected John when he fasted and they rejected Jesus for eating with tax collectors.

So what exactly did these ungrateful people expect? With our hindsight of thousands of years, it’s pretty easy to jump on board with Jesus here. I mean, of course these people have been massively unfair to John and Jesus. But looking back to our questions about feeling uncomfortable with what Jesus teaches and feeling like our wisdom is greater than God’s wisdom, I think that our answers to those questions in our hearts can show us how much we have in common with these people who reject John and Jesus’ teachings.

At the end of this passage, Jesus says, “Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” God not only wants to disrupt our way of thinking, to challenge us and to change the way that we live, but to root and establish us in wisdom, wisdom that can only come from God. He desires to bring us holy disruption.

A little later in Chapter 11, Jesus thanks God for bringing his upside-down Kingdom into being. We hear about this upside-down Kingdom elsewhere in Scripture. Later in Matthew, Jesus says that the last shall be first. That’s kind of a crazy idea, but it’s something that God wants us to think about, to ask the Holy Spirit to root us in that wisdom and to teach us what it really means. In Chapter 11 Jesus brings some bad news to cities who did not repent after they saw his miracles. The day of judgement is going to be terrible for them. Then he thanks God and thanks him that he has hidden things from the wise and revealed them to infants. So God doesn’t want us to be like these children who are unsatisfied, but like these children who are curious and humble and willing to receive the wisdom that God has for us. Jesus says that it’s the unlikely people who understand who he is and what he came to do. It’s the people like the poor and the tax collector he eats with and begins to bring the fruition of the Kingdom of God.

Do you expect God to work differently than he does on the earth? And are you willing to consider that God might be working for your freedom as well as the freedom of others?

Christopher:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Those gentle words never fail as a balm for our souls. But have you ever considered how disruptive they really are? Jesus is telling us that what we’re doing and the way we’re doing it is not enough – if we want rest, release, freedom, then look to him.

He sounds so out of touch with our world, the modern world, the real world. In the real world, it feels as if everything is always demanding more and more from us. Rest? Where is that?

This weekend, our nation celebrates life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness proclaimed on the birthday of the nation 244 years ago in the Declaration of Independence. Then I hear Jesus, and he seems to promise something…more. We hear him and wonder whether maybe we’re not as free as we think.

Most of us would define freedom as being able to do what we choose to do, when we choose to do it. But freedom to do what we want really can be a big problem.

We are tied up in knots by our worries: having enough money, having enough good health, being secure and safe. We often put the most important parts of ourselves at risk: our minds, our bodies, our relationships or ourselves just to feel free from those worries.

Here in America, we have zealously guarded many freedoms at great price. Most of the time, we do enjoy the freedom to do what we choose and I am really thankful to live here. And still, while we are free to do what we want, we’re not given much guidance in wanting the right things. Franz Kafka wrote: “You are free and that is why you are lost.” I think that’s a great way to describe the difficulty our vision of freedom often leaves us with.

Where do we go for the rest, the freedom, that Jesus promises? He turns our world inside out by telling us that rest and freedom come by taking on another burden, a yoke on our shoulders. I know–it’s a paradox. A yoke is a yoke and a burden is a burden. But this is a different kind of yoke, and a different sort of burden.

It is a yoke that promises rest for weary souls and tired lives. It’s choosing the work that teaches us to pray like Jesus did–praising God as master of heaven and Earth. It’s choosing the call to imitate the Son – to do what Jesus would do because Jesus knows the Father, and makes God known to us. Taking on Jesus’ yoke is growing in Christlikeness by walking with him. Taking on Jesus’ yoke means being a student, an apprentice, a pupil, a disciple.

So where do we begin–how do we choose Jesus’ yoke of true freedom? Well, today is as good a day as any to start–or start again. Today is the Lord’s day, it is our Sabbath; it is our day of rest.

The Book of Exodus remembers that after God worked, God rested and so it is God’s will for us and all God has made to do the same (Gen 2:2, Ex. 20:8-11). In the book of Deuteronomy, Sabbath is remembered as a memorial of God’s liberation of the Hebrews from their slavery. (Dt. 5:12-15) Sabbath is an invitation out of our individual lives’ pursuits into a time of rest, renewal and re-creation through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a call to set down the burdens of life’s work, its worries and preoccupations, to rest in God’s provision and sovereignty and to imitate the rhythms of God’s own life.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” In that rest, you discover the power to be free–to be a Christian–to be a disciple.

The great gift of Jesus’ call is that the burden of discipleship is not imposed. It is chosen and it is shared. When you say “yes” to Jesus, you’ll find him in a most surprising place. He does not stand over you driving you along the path. Neither does he wait for you at the finish line. No, today, he reminds us that he shares our load and leads the way.

To walk with Jesus is indeed a holy disruption. It is to learn a new way of living. It is to discover that freedom comes in wanting what God wants–Jesus’ called it seeking the kingdom or reign of God. It is finding that we are free because we are first dependent upon God’s grace, God’s provision and the gift God has given us in one another. It is great freedom and bought at great price.

Today is a Sunday like any other, the day after the Fourth of July. But, if we choose to keep it, this is a also a day we call the Sabbath. It is a day to remember your slavery to the things of the world and in worship to cast them off.

For those who believe, for those who trust in the work Jesus is doing in and through us, for those who accept his call to rest in him, it is Independence Day. Every day with him can be.

Hymn of Response

Come to Me – Anna Moxley

Click on this text to view the lyrics of the song and sing along.

 

I am the Lord your God I go before you now
I stand beside you I’m all around you
Though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you more than you know

I am the Lord your peace no evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind come into My rest
Oh let your faith arise lift up your weary head
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I’m all you need
Come to Me, I’m everything
Come to Me, I’m all you need
Come to Me, I’m your everything

I am your anchor in the wind and the waves
I am your steadfast so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I’m all you need
Come to Me, I’m your everything
Come to Me, I’m all you need
Come to Me, I’m your everything

Response Through Giving

Gather Us In – Nyssa Collins

We encourage you to give your offerings online through Pushpay here, through the Yates app, or by mail (2819 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC, 27707). We are growing into new ways to be the church together and your giving allows us to keep being the church, even in the absence of our physical presence.

Morning Prayer

J. Muckenfuss

Click on this text to view the text and pray along.

 

Forgive us, merciful God, when in the adventure of life, we have believed we have discovered you. The truth is much greater, that by your powerful grace, you have sought and found us. Thank you God that you find us precious. We open our hearts to your invitation to us this worship day.

Welcoming Lord, it’s been quite a week; for some it was filled with busyness and exciting activities; for others it has been long and lonely. Still others have experienced ongoing troubles and frustrations, sorrows and sadness. At all times, you are with each one of us, giving us strength, calming our spirits; healing our wounds, celebrating with us our triumphs. You offer us rest in and with you.

Yet we find ourselves weary and burdened. Merciful God, we confess that there have been times of doubt in our spirits. We confess that when difficulties are upon us, we don’t always believe that you will take our burdens. We feel we have to always be in control, trying to demand our desired outcome. Help us to place our trust in you. Remind us that you surround us continually with your care, you never just let us drift aimlessly. You have not left us alone or abandoned. Remind us that your yoke is easy and your burden is light.

Our souls are sickened because we have not looked to you, the Lord of the seasons and of all life. We have planned for the summer months as times of relaxation and refreshment. And we find ourselves in an unplanned rhythm of a virus and separation that has removed our time-familiar strategies of diversion and relaxation. But then you call to us again. Like an oasis in the desert, worship satisfies our sin-sick souls. Today, help us find rest by delighting in your presence, and help us find the hope you have shown is only in you.

There are people who need you on our minds today. This morning we name in our voices those who struggle with issues of health, loneliness, sorrow; we name in our voices those who have found great joy. We voice our prayers for them now.

[pause]

Be with each person we have named, giving strength and courage for all the times ahead. Help each one of us to remember that we can always come to you.

We pray these things in the name of Jesus, the one who hears our prayers, the one who is gentle and humble, the one who sets on us an easy yoke, the one who will take our burdens and give us peace. Amen.

Blessing

Now at the call of Christ, take his yoke upon you and learn from him. Dance when he sings and mourn when he cries; be generous in your hospitality to all. May God greatly bless you; may Christ Jesus reveal the fullness of God to you; and may the Holy Spirit lift your burdens and give you rest. Amen.

Sending Music

I’ll Fly Away – Jeff & Jon Stickley

Click on this text to view the lyrics of the song and sing along.

 

Some glad morning when this life is o’er,
I’ll fly away;
To a home on God’s celestial shore,
I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away).

Refrain:
I’ll fly away, Oh Glory
I’ll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away).

When the shadows of this life have gone,
I’ll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away)

Just a few more weary days and then,
I’ll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away)

 

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