Sermon - July 9, 2023 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon – July 9, 2023

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 9
Sunday July 9, 2023
Year A

First Reading: Genesis 24:34-38,42-49,58-67
Canticle: The Song of My Beloved (Song of Solomon 2:8-13)
Second Reading: Romans 7:15-25a
Gospel: Matthew 11:16-19,25-30


O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving thee and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of they Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God for ever and ever. Amen

Rest For Your Soul

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.”

How many times have we been troubled by something and feel like we have the world on our shoulders? I have felt this way many times and I bet you have too. 

The first part of the gospel, Jesus said, “To what will I compare this generation? 

The Israelites were expecting a new king a Messiah and they were complaining that neither John the Baptist nor Jesus met their expectations. 

Jesus is showing how the current generation of Israelites is like children who are disappointed because their friends will not participate in their games.

Jesus is highlighting the reality of being judged by others. John the Baptist was judged to be too radical and Jesus himself considered too ordinary.

Our world is full of prenotions of who we think people should be like. Jesus desires us to be free of these prejudges and instead, be rooted and guided by His truth.

Heavy Burdens

We have all been guilty of trying to do everything ourself and not asking for help. It might be something as simply as trying to open a door with your arms full of things, you would rather struggle then ask for help.

Why a Yoke?

A yoke was made of wood and it was made to help the animals bear the heavy burdens. Did you know that it is possible, Jesus made yoke’s, He was a carpenter. 

Jesus is using the yoke as a picture, for them to imagine being together with someone by illustrating the use of a yoke. 

I thought of a bicycle built for two, you are working together to move the bike down the road, its less of a burden on just one person.  

Jesus promises us rest for our souls, by coming to him with our burdens, we can sit down those heavy burdens that we carry and He will give us rest. We take His yoke upon us and because of that, He will carry our burdens.

“Learn from me he says; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden in light.”

Why is it so hard for us to understand? Maybe you are someone that turns over your heavy burdens to Jesus and you can rest…. You know your now, in His loving care. 

But maybe it is something hard for you to do. You turn over your problems to Him, but you have not convinced yourself and you are still carrying the burden’s around with you.

We know that when we do turn over our problems to Jesus, who has stretched out his arms upon the cross, that He might embrace the whole world and take all our sins, all our burdens on himself.

If we can give up to God, to take Jesus’s yoke to lighten up our burdens, we also need to be open to God giving us the answers we are looking for. 

Stay alert and awake to the answers when God is helping lift those burdens. 

God often uses other people in your lives to help offer comfort and direction. It might take multiple answers, for you to be able to move on. 

God will help, just be open and ready. But first you must ask God for that help, pray, Jesus prayed to God many times. 

Sometimes we do not always ask, some people do not think they are worthy of help or underserving. 

Wrong! God knows what is going on and He is always there waiting for you to ask.

In the Gospel, Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. 

Do we thank God for all the prayers that has been answered? This loving giving God has show us through history just how much he works through broken things.


The author of this story is unknown. 

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a yoke he carried across his shoulders. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a long time, this went on daily, with the water bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house. The cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection, and miserable that it was able to carry only half a load of water. One day it spoke to the water bearer by the stream. “I am ashamed and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the water bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house.”

The water bearer replied, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” And as they went up the hill, the cracked pot noticed the sun warming the beautiful flowers on the side of the path. This cheered the pot some, but he still felt bad about being broken.

The water bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That is because I have always known about your flaw, and I used it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you have watered them. For years now I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Let Jesus put His yoke on you, walk in love as He has taught us to do.

Remember if you feel you are flawed and your pot is cracked, while you are walking toward His altar of forgiveness, you might be watering and helping those along the way, we can spread His seeds of love as we find our own way, and you will find rest for your soul.

The Reverend Lola Culbreath