Matthew 11 25 – 30
Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
This reading is used so often in services of healing and remembrance. Words of comfort and reassurance for those who suffer, whose life is unmanageable. We bring our cares to Jesus and hand them over; to rest in the arms of God; to be as children in his care.
Jesus has gathered his children, his little ones with no authority or importance, around himself. And it is these who receive the message of redemption first hand; without the need for learning, sacrifice or judgment. Perhaps because they already know what judgment and sacrifice really mean?
The offer made to those who are weary is not one of complete release. Unless the Lord planned to recreate Heaven on earth, that was never going to be a reasonable expectation. This is our earthly life and it is part of our journey that we live it; as Jesus lives it – with the pain and the weariness and the labour.
The yoke is easy because it is not adorned with carvings, bells and brasses, it has been shaped by trial and tears; the burden is light because we should not be carrying what is not needed to get us into the Kingdom or allow us to help with its construction.