Texts: Exodus 3: 1-12; Matthew 11: 28-30

It was just another ordinary day in the life of Moses, so the story goes … herding sheep in the back forty, going about his own business, when an angel shows up …a messenger…a God-send …in this case in a flame of fire out of a bush. Not your ordinary bush fire that would send Moses running for his life --at least not yet!-- but a blaze of sorts that causes him to look, and look again … the way messages and messengers from God call for our attention, stop us in our tracks, do whatever they do to get through to us, to alert us that we are in the presence of something, some Mystery, quite beyond ourselves. And because God is who God is, there’s no telling or controlling just how that might occur. Our part is to pay attention when it happens. Which Moses does, turning aside to see.
Do you notice? It’s then, when God sees Moses turn, that more is given … more unfolds. As though there’s something about our responsiveness, our readiness to engage the Mystery --strange as it is-- that furthers the encounter.

For Moses, he’s given to know that he’s standing in the presence of the God of Life! And more than that, it comes to him that God has heard the cries, is aware of the misery of God’s people, their suffering, their exploitation. And that the time for their deliverance has come … that God has come to deliver them out of Egypt, out of Pharaoh’s deadly grip … to lead them into a good place, rich with provision and delight.

And then comes the kicker! Just two words really … “so come”. That’s what Moses hears. “YOU come!” I will deliver … in and through you, Moses. I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt. Not surprisingly Moses resists, “but … but … but … “who am I that I should go?” He comes up with 5 perfectly solid reasons why he wouldn’t be the one. And what does he hear back? “I will be with you” … “I will be with you.” In 5 different yet stubbornly consistent ways he hears, “I will be with you!” In other words, it’s not about what you think you are up for … it’s not about your adequacy, your deftness, your might, Moses. It’s about letting my power for life flow through your scared silly self.

Chances are we know something of Moses’ resistance first hand. Chances are we all have our 5 perfectly solid reasons -- or if not, we could come up with them in a jiffy. because God’s dream is big, and to our sensibilities, impossible -- the healing of the world … the renewal of the earth … the liberation of our lives from whatever enslaves us … diminishes us. Really? Surely such a vision is too far beyond us … too wild to trust … too risky to invest in.

Well just how risky is it that we poison the air we breathe and the waters we drink … that entire species are being wiped out. Just how risky is it that we continue to ship coal to China, that we expand the possibilities for export?! How wild is it that the idea of the Kinder Morgan pipeline is a live possibility? How wild is it that we invest trillions of dollars on weapons, and can’t seem to feed or house or clothe our neighbours, or ensure clean water? How wild is it that we support and sustain these businesses that demand insane levels of production -- massive feedlots, tons of fertilizer, slave labour? How wild, how mad is it, that we keep it all going?!!

You can see it, can’t you? … wild and risk aren’t foreign to us … madness doesn’t stop us!
So why don’t we try another kind of wild … another kind of risk … the risk of God’s alternative … the wildness that gives rise to God’s vision for life.

“Come unto me,” Jesus says. You see there’s that word again -- come! “Come,” he says, not you who are ready for anything … not you brave ones, not you who aspire to great things. But “come” he says, “you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens.”

“What is it that makes people like us weary?” asks Walter Brueggemann, like we might ask. And you know what he ventures? “It is not working too hard that makes us weary. It is rather living a life that is against the grain of our true creatureliness … living a life that is against the grain of our true vocation, being placed in a false position, so that our day-to-day operation requires us to contradict what we know best about ourselves and what we love most about our lives as children of God.      Exhaustion comes from the demand that we be, in some measure, other than we truly are.” [1]

And who are we, truly? How might we speak of our true vocation?
This is what we are given to know and to trust: that we are made in the image of God. We might think of that not as a possession we carry, a thing that is implanted within us, but rather a way of being that reflects our relatedness, our connection with God -- whose deepest desire is the flourishing of life. We are a people made for that God-connection that we might reflect the grace and mercy and staggering generosity of God.

“Come unto me you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens.”
It’s a call to come away from the dehumanizing, soul-less way of Pharaoh’s bottomless demands. It’s a call to come away into the life of well-being with Jesus whose strength and vision rests in leaning on God’s all-sufficient love.

Jesus, gentle and humble of spirit, invites us. And it’s not a free lunch. There is a yoke … but it is easy. Not the yoke of Pharaoh’s domination … that grinds and rubs and erodes our deepest, truest self. But the easy yoke of trusting discipleship [2] … of learning and unlearning in a relationship of loving regard … taking up those practices that lead us home to that place where we are true and live true to who we really are … and so be at ease in ourselves and with ourselves.

And there is a burden … but it is light. Not the burden of our weariness. But the burden of simple commands … of travelling light, and staking our life only and entirely on that Friday-Sunday truth;[3] where out of the ash of disappointment and death, devastation, there arises unimagined life … new beginning. There is a burden, but it is light … the burden of trusting that the One who calls us to share in ventures more ridiculous than we would ever choose for ourselves, meets us with a power for life that is all the more wild yet!

What stirs in you this day as you hear Jesus invitation “So come! Come!” “I will be with you.” “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. I will be with you. I am  with you.”

Let’s give ourselves some space to notice, to feel … to breathe within the Spirit’s loving embrace.

[1]  Walter Brueggemann, Mandate to Difference -an invitation to the contemporary church; Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville Kentucky; 2007; p 42
[2] Ibid, p 46
[3] Ibid, p 46