Wednesday 08 December 2010

Bible Book:

"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." (v. 29)

Matthew 11:28-30 Wednesday 8 December 2010


The gospel of Jesus cannot be heard by the movers and shakers ofthe world. The promise of Jesus comprises relief, refreshment anduncomplicated joy in human goodness. It makes sense to peoplecrushed by life or oppressed by dictatorial leaders who must imposetheir views on others. 

The 'burdens' that rob people of freedom and peace of mind cannotbe adequately described or even listed. They can include: grindingpoverty, long-term sickness or profound disability; theresponsibility of caring for a disturbed, sick or disabled person;anxiety about the future; worry and fear triggered by prejudice andhatred; guilt and shame; isolation and loneliness; or a sense thatlife is a mess and the pieces cannot be put togetheragain. 

Jesus' promise is a paradox - 'You will be relieved of your burdenif you let me put a yoke on your neck and shoulders'. A 'yoke onthe neck' is a metaphor for becoming a disciple of Jesus, someonewho learns from his words and deeds (Ecclesiasticus 51:23-26). And when a yoke fitssnugly, huge weights can be carried with ease. 

Jesus calls people to become disciples (to take the 'easy yoke') inorder to enter an experience of undiluted grace and blessing. God'sSpirit cares for and encourages disciples, inspiring them to becomelike Jesus - "gentle and humble in heart". This is new life, fullof God's wisdom and energy, marked by joy and peace, wheredisciples practise love and justice. This is what the Sabbath'rest' was always intended to be - a celebration of God the Creatorand participation in God's life. This is the kingdom of heaven. Itis indeed good news for the poor in spirit and the broken hearted,as Jeremiah, much earlier, had glimpsed and prayed for (Jeremiah 6:16; 31:23-25). 

To Ponder

What 'burdens' of your own do you focus on inyour prayers to Jesus, asking God's grace to help you cope?

"Bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2) is Paul's instruction for mutualsupport in the Church. In what Church settings would you feelconfident about sharing things that get you down and listeningattentively to others' stories?

When you meet someone who has to carry a fargreater burden in life than you have ever experienced, what most ofall do you want for them?

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