6.3.18 Teach Us to Pray ~ Matthew 11:25-30

6.3.18 Teach Us to Pray ~ Connection to Someone Larger than You ~ Matthew 11:25-30

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.

            Can we talk science for a bit?  You know that the answer to that question is yes because I’m going to talk science whether you want to or not.  And by science I mean can we talk about quantum physics and hypotheses that are floating out there right now?  I am NOT a scientist.  I am NOT a physicist!  But I do love reading about science and physics.  And I really love that the more we learn about the nature of the physical universe, the more we know we don’t know much.  There is just so much to explore!  There is the universe which we have only seen a tiny fraction of, and parts of the universe we know exist but cannot see like dark matter and black holes, you know that we actually can’t see black holes because their gravity is so strong that they pull in the light around them and since we need light to actually see, we can’t see black holes, but we know they exist for a myriad of other reasons!  I LOVE that!  Come on, if that is not the basis for faith I don’t know what is.  We know something exists even though we cannot see it, that is the very definition of faith!

            So I love the universe because there is so much to explore, and then I love the super small, teeny tiny quantum-verse.  If the universe is vast and huge and so big we are dwarfed by it, then the quantum verse is the other direction and it is so small we have to have very specialized instruments to even notice these quantum particles.  And just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about.  Let’s take a look at a basic drawing of a water molecule.  Maybe you remember or not that water is made up of h2o molecules.  Meaning a water molecule is two hydrogen atoms combined with an oxygen atom.  And molecules are so small you have to have a really good microscope to see them.  But molecules are not the smallest thing we know.  Oh no!  Molecules are made up of atoms.  Here is what we often draw atoms like, but atoms look a lot more like fuzzy clouds, just so you know.  But atoms are not the smallest, if you remember your chemistry, then you know that Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.  But even those are not the smallest for it seems that protons and neutrons, maybe not electrons are made up of something smaller called quarks, but quarks are bigger than neutrinos, and then neutrinos are bigger than the planck length named after the great physicists Max Planck, and this is supposedly the smallest things possible before we head into improbabilities not understood by our current math.

            At least that is how I understand it.

            And even if you didn’t follow me, thank you for letting me Geek out for a minute.

            But here is the point of all of this:  Each part of the universe from the vast to the teeny tiny, can be studied on its own, but what is more important is how each part is connected to something else.  You can study protons, neutrons and electrons on their own, but what is more important is that they together make up an atom.  It is the collection and connection of all the parts of the physical universe that make up something greater than the individual parts.  And that is what really gets me excited when I read science and physics.  Because I’m like, “Don’t you see!  It is right there!  Everything in the physical universe is connected to something larger than itself to make something greater than itself.  Which means, you and I are not just individuals any more than a hydrogen atom is only an individual atom, instead we are connected, we are part of something much greater than just ourselves!”  And what might really blow your mind, is that when you think about it, if it is true that individual things becomes connected into something larger than themselves, then what about our universe as a whole?  Is our individual universe also connected to something larger than itself?  So cool!

            But let’s bring this back to earth.  To you and me.  Every time an individual thing in the universe gets connected to other individual things and creates something greater, energy is required to make this happen.  And it is the same for us.  Every time we want to be connected to someone or something else, it requires energy to make it happen.  And, guess what the same is true of God.  Every time you want to be connected to God energy will be required.  And what do we Christians call that energy that connects us to God?  Love.  Love is a spiritual, emotional, and physical energy that connects us to God and each other.  And you want to talk about the next scientific revolution where we start to really figure the universe out, it will be when scientists finally start talking about the energy of love.  Thus endeth the science lesson.

            But here’s the thing.  Everything in the universe including us was made to be connected to something larger than itself.  Meaning we as individuals were made, we were designed to be connected to each other and to God.  And love is the energy that connects us, but how do we experience that energy?  It is through prayer.

            If you want to lovingly connect to God, you gotta pray!  Which is why this summer we are going to be talking about prayer, the one thing that Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to teach them was…Teach us to Pray!  And if we too want to really understand how we are connected to more than just ourselves, we too need to learn to pray.

            So let’s pray!  Lord dear Lord above, God almighty God of love, please look down and see your people through.  Amen.

Jesus said these very famous words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  And I have to admit I can believe what Jesus says with my head, but I don’t live it out with my life.  Here is what I mean.  I 100% would tell you that if you come to Jesus then your life will get better!  Your life will be easier, filled with more love and joy and peace, and I would tell you that Jesus will not place un due burdens on you and that following him is actually one of the easiest things you will ever do.  That is what I would say to you.

            So why am I so stressed sometimes?  Why does being a Christian and a pastor of a church make my blood pressure spike, from time to time?  Why do I some nights lay awake thinking, praying and pondering all that is happening in the world and in the church and in our town and not coming to any solutions, just having an anxious, restless night?  I am a Christian!  I am baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!  I am a praying, bible reading, sermon preaching, church leading person, why oh why have I so much worry and stress?  Why oh why do I have anxiety and fear?  Why oh why don’t I live my life with an easy yoke and light burden?  Why is life so hard when I have Jesus?  Shouldn’t it be easy?

            If you know me by now, then you know the answer to that question is yes and no.  Both at the same time.  Because here is what is true:  Jesus’ yoke is easy and he is not burdensome, he will give us rest.  But the hard part is:  to get what Jesus offers, you have to stop.  You have to stop rushing, stop busyness, stop with fretting about the to do list, stop, stop stop stop what you are doing in your life, and do what Jesus asks of you.

            See here is how we think this faith thing should work, we think we should be able to live our lives how we always have and keep adding more and more and saying yes to yet another thing, and we should be able to just keep going and Jesus will just run alongside of us in this hamster wheel we call life.  And when we need a break Jesus will supernaturally zap us with divine energy so we can get right back out to running and going and pushing and shoving our way through life.  And when we live this kind of life what I most often hear people say is:  I’m too busy to pray.  Anyone out there feel too busy to pray?  And yet we keep going and we think that Jesus is just going to come alongside of us and encourage us to keep going with our lives that are leading not leading to love and joy and peace, instead we live lives that are leading to burnout, stress, and heart attacks!  Jesus, IS NOT, I’m telling you, he IS NOT on board with your and my crazy, busy, stressed out lives.  It is just not what he wants for us.

            Do you hear what Jesus’ answer is to our problem of being too busy to pray?  It is probably the part we miss out on when we hear Jesus’ words, Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  I don’t know about you, but I hear words like “weary and burdened” and I’m like yeah!  That’s me.  Or I hear, “I will give you rest.”  And I think that is amazing, I would love to take a nap thank you Jesus!  But I always gloss over those first three words, “Come to me.”  You see if you no longer want to be weary and heavy laden, if you want the rest that Jesus offers, then, like I said before you have to stop your current life and then you have to head on over to Jesus.  You gotta come to Jesus!  And the best way to do that?  Pray.

            Do you see that the very act of prayer is what allows Jesus to give you rest?

            When you are weary and burdened, when you are troubled by the troubles of the world, when your to do list is more than you can do in a day, week month or year.  Jesus says.  Stop.  Come to me.

            And then what happens?  What happens when you stop and you begin to pray?  My friends, what happens is you begin to connect with a power that is greater than any power you have on your own.  You begin to see that it is not just you as an individual that is getting things done, but you are connected to a larger project and that God is getting something done through you!  You begin to see that it is not just about you, not just about your concerns and worries and anxieties, that there is so much more going on in this universe than just your life.  And THAT is how you get rest.  That is how come Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light, because when you pray, when you connect to something greater than you, you begin to see that you are just one part of a larger whole and all you have to do is trust that Jesus is taking care of the really big picture and you don’t have to!

            You can think about it like a water molecule!  Remember these?  Think of all the water molecules in Chatauqua Lake.  So many that I couldn’t count them, but do you think that one quark on a proton on an oxygen atom on a water molecule has any idea or about the larger lake?  Absolutley not!  The only thing our little quark friend is doing is spinning around being itself and doing what it was created and designed by God to do!  And that is ALL we are asked to do as well.  You are not supposed to be bearing the burdens of the world, troubles of the universe, the weight of sin and evil.  That is God’s job.  Your and my job is to simply be ourselves, be who we were created and designed by God to be, and the rest?  You can let it go.  You can rest.  You can accept that you and I are just one small part of a really great plan that God’s in charge of and not you and so you can relax.

            That is what it means to pray!  It means, you can finally stop and come to Jesus, that you get connected to something larger than you and you can rest in the fact that all you have been asked to be is just be you.

            My friends, please pray.  Please connect.  Come to Jesus and you will find rest.  And when you do remember that God loves you and I love you too.  Let’s pray.

            Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.  Amen.