June 2015

"Come unto me, all you who are weary and are burdened and I will refresh you" ( or "I will give you rest")
[Matthew 11.28]

 We use these words at the start of each session of contemplative prayer when we take ourselves off to sit still and quiet in the presence of God. It is this i nvitation from Jesus himself that draws us aside, and each time it is with love that we accept, on an individual and deeply personal basis. We hear these w ords and cannot resist.

Just as our contemplative prayer will finish with the all important wider work of intercession, so this op en invitation at the start of each session is made as a call to all his people, which can be channelled outward through us, during our times of silent pray er. 
His loving promise of rest is to all those who suffer and struggle and search in this life. Many however may hear these words only supe rficially, and they may not penetrate any further. 

Through the prayer of the Fellowship we trust that the invitation can be as it were amplified, and resound way beyond ourselves as we take it into our own minds hearts and wills. We are reminded of the significance both individu ally and collectively of the Old Testament Saying "You are my treasured possession" (Deuteronomy 7 6). Jesus is extending this and opening it up by what he is saying here.

The concept of our 'self' cannot be set apart in separation. In contemplation we experience our 'selves' me rging into God; this is together with all his people, all of whom He loves (Jesus' prayer to the Father in John 17 23 "I in them and you in me".) We rea d in Hosea 14. 8 "I am the pine tree that shelters you. Your fruits you owe to me". Without this shelter we would not thrive, but wither. Within this she lter any fruit we bear clearly is His own. In the same way Jesus tells us, "I am the vine, you are the branches." No branch can bear fruit on its own.

If you use this Saying for the main part of your contemplative prayer-time or group exercise, I would suggest using another Saying a s your preparatory Word: e.g. "Be still, and know that I am God" from Psalm 46, or "Come apart and rest awhile" from Mark 6.31.