Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Readings- Genesis 24: 34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Psalm 45: 11-18; Romans 7: 15-25a; Matthew 11: 16-19, 25-30

Tucked in among all the stories of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, we find this wonderful story in Genesis of an unnamed servant and a young woman named Rebekah.  Let’s stay with this rather than rushing toward the better-known stories. 

We begin with the graciousness of Rebekah.  We know that the root of graciousness is love.  We cannot be gracious unless we love our neighbor as ourselves. 

The encounter between the servant of Abraham and Rebekah takes place at a well, the source of life in the desert landscape.  The tired, well-traveled servant asks, “Please, let me drink”.  Without hesitation, Rebekah offers this total stranger, “Drink, and I will also water your camels”.  This is not an easy or quick task.  Rebekah is gracious. 

Following the encounter at the well, the servant of Abraham presents gifts of gold, silver, and fine fabric to Rebekah, her mother, and her brother.  They in turn offer food and lodging for the night to the entire entourage.  In the morning the engagement is not yet complete until Rebekah’s family asks her, “Will you go with this man?”  Again, the graciousness of Rebekah shines and she replies, “I will”. 

Now let’s look to this unnamed servant of Abraham, entrusted with the task of finding a wife for the new head of the family, for Isacc.  For God’s promise to Abraham of land and descendants, this servant’s mission needs to be successful.  And it is.  He travels a great distance.  He prays to the God of Abraham for success.  He discerns that this young woman at the well who gave him and his camel’s water is the one.  With the agreement of Rebekah, the mission is complete and they journey back home. 

I think this unnamed servant provides all of us with a role model.  He plays his part without great drama, without a town named in his honor, without a statue cast, and without even his name being recorded.  He is like the current-day servants, like you and me, who do our part without great fanfare, without a town being named in our honor, without a statue cast, without our names being recorded in history books.  Playing our part in the ongoing work of God is our reward, our pleasure, and our joy. 

This reading of the servant and Rebekah is more like our own opportunities to serve, to be a part of God’s work.  There is no miracle.  There is no extraordinary act of bravery required.   It is the story of people going about the normal routines of life, traveling, stopping for refreshments, talking with strangers, and praying for God’s guidance.  We do the same as we live out our partnership with God. 

Being a partner with God is not all that complicated.  K.I.S.S.  Keep it simple, stupid applies. 

Jesus in speaking with his disciples in our Gospel reading says the same.

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,                            and I will give you rest.                                                                                                                       [You are making life far too complicated.]                                                             Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;                                                                                     [I will yoke with you; I will pull alongside you; I will guide you.]                           for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.                          . [Your souls will find the peace you seek that surpasses all                                                understanding as you walk beside me in service.]                                                    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.                                              . [Keep it simple.  Love God, Love Neighbor, Love Self as                          . you go about your daily living.]

Be gracious, especially with strangers, like Rebekah. 

Be prayerfully on missions in partnership with God, like the servant.      

And all will be well.

And all will be well.


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