7/5/08

Word for the Week of July 6


Come, My Yoke Is Easy by Ann Tanksley (click on image for larger version)

This week's Word is taken from the gospel for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.


Matthew 11:25-30

Try as I might, I'm not sure I know anyone who isn't weary and burdened. The weariness might be from yesterday's job or from months of looking for work; it might be the result of trying to do too much this year, or trying to do too much over decades. And burdens? The burden of sin, the weight of worry, grief, confusion and doubt... Well, I've yet to meet a human being over two years old who doesn't carry some hurt or pain. In the very young it might not yet be articulated, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't had an impact.

The resiliency of the human spirit amazes here and it's a wonder that more of us are not crushed under the weight of our own failings and hurt. Of course, the human spirit is, itself, God's gift to us and when that spirit is graced by the Lord's support and blessing, what we're able to survive and achieve, the wounds from which we somehow heal - it is more than most of us expect we can do. What we often hope for is an end to all pain... what God more often gives us is the strength to survive the pain and move ahead with strength greater than our own resources.

That we come to the Lord in prayer, that we know that often our prayers do not yield what we hoped for, that we cling to the Lord's promise of an easy yoke, light burdens and rest - all of this is born of faith in the persons we were created to be and in the Creator.

I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

Matthew 11:25-30

More and more I believe that our promised peace comes through understanding more deeply who this God is who reveals himself in the person of Christ. Peace comes in our deepening knowledge of who God is and how God dwells within us, especially when we want for peace. To know Christ is to receive his peace, whatever the labors, whatever the burdens...

-ConcordPastor

1 comment:

Anna said...

I have always loved reading this particular prayer. As you said Concord Pastor, this is one that everyone can relate to. Unfortunately, I tend to read/say it when I am most burdened, and somehow feel cheated by God for not lifting the weight from my shoulders as much as I want or need. Carrying a lifetime of damaging hurts and pain, I find that what I am most looking for is a total freedom from what I have become and what I continue to feel. Clearly, I know that God does not "take away" all that I wish, but I still feel that the "strength" he gives me to endure just isn't enough. Sometimes the pain is too deep, and the strength He gives me is just enough to take one step. Those days, I find it hard to see the love of God as clearly as I would like. I suppose God is giving me the strength to take that one step so that tomorrow I will be able to take a second step as well. Perhaps that is all I can hope for, but when you are in a time of crisis, you pray for the hurt to stop completely. Yes, life can be hard, but for some it can be a long process of struggling through pain and heartache that never seems to go away. And with that comes confusion and emptiness of being able to be free from these feelings and the inability to rely on the words of Matthew and belief that God does hear us.