Sunday, July 6, 2014

Updated: Take my yoke, please.

Romans 7:15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

It’s so easy to run to the end of today’s Gospel:

‘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.’

But first Jesus has some pretty damning things to say about “this generation”, which one could argue he could say today and about those who claim to follow Him as opposed to those who criticized both He and John in the original context of this Scripture.
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon'; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, `Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” (Matthew 11:18-19)
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I am reminded of how polarized our world has become: you are either on this side or that side and the barometer to check is not God or your conscience, but your party and peers.

And so we jeer, 
and so we hate 
and so we fear The Other 
and so we deny their humanity 
and so we kill each other.

I am reminded of those who yell at and blockade busloads of children this past week, illegal immigrants, yes, but children who need basic care. 

But isn’t it so much harder to take on Jesus’ yoke, and follow His way and learn from him? Isn’t it easier just to do what everyone else is doing? (I am reminded of: “if they jumped off a cliff, would you?”) 

If it was easy, wouldn’t we have brought God’s kingdom to earth already? And surely, if it was easy, Paul wouldn’t be complaining: "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)

Maybe it’s the taking on of Jesus’ yoke that is hard. Maybe, like the young rich man, we each have our own reasons, baggage/burdens, that prevent us from shouldering Jesus’ yoke fully.

Baggage and burdens that we talk about “giving to God” or “laying at the foot of His cross” but then we pick right back up again. I know I do that.

Letting God be in charge is hard. 

But once we do, really do … maybe Jesus’ yoke will fit us like the perfect shoe: no pinching, no blisters, no rubbing, no circulation cut off, no wobbling on high heels. 

Maybe through learning and living The Way, learning and living with God, it becomes easier to be the dissenting voice, to act according to God and not according to the polarized world.

And then everyone’s burdens would be light because in following God we have brought the kingdom to earth.

This is our hope, our prayer, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done…"

[Updating here to add a video, which does have a brief disturbing image of a burned body that you can't unsee, but is filled with a message of hope and peace.

And also, Revbecca in her sermon today finished my thought above. That it is not just our hope and our prayer, but that it takes great courage to listen to God and say yes to God. In other words, in putting on that yoke.]


3 comments:

Caroline said...

Now that's a good sermon :)

sthenryii said...

Wise words! Letting God take charge is something I struggle with… but I shouldn't, because He's much better at it than I am. :)

Leanne said...

Caroline: thanks :) Writing about unpleasant sermons is proving to be harder, however.

St. Henry II: I know!