This bright sun is working for me – how about you?
I am intrigued by this “we are at war” metaphor we use when talking about the Covid 19 pandemic. The enemy is invisible, hiding, ready to ambush us. The enemy could be everywhere, we won’t know until we are attacked. The weapons in our arsenal are 1. stay at home, 2. wash our hands, 3. spray disinfectant everywhere, 4. Stock up on toilet paper (ha-ha)
What an odd way of fighting a war! The most difficult part for me is step one – stay at home. Not something I like to do. I seek distraction. Can’t sit still for long. Want to go out for any reason whatsoever.
The executive of Pittsburgh Presbytery, Sheldon Sorge, shared a reflection this morning that encourages me. Just take this battle one day at a time…one step at a time…and lean on Jesus, who is fighting this battle right beside us.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you that are weary … and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29) The situation in which we find ourselves is just the sort of thing Jesus is addressing. With Jesus, the stressed find rest, reorientation, and renewal
Paradoxically, Jesus uses the metaphor of a yoke to characterize his promise of rest. We think of a yoke as signifying bondage, but he offers it as a pathway to freedom.
The image of yoked oxen was familiar to Jesus’ hearers. A strong, mature ox was typically yoked to a younger ox that hadn’t yet learned the disciplined art of plow-pulling. The newbie would pull to this side and that to check out interesting sights or dip toward the ground to catch a bit of some special grass. Meanwhile the elder ox would keep moving purposefully forward, and because of the yoke, the weaker apprentice was pulled away from all seductive diversions, back to the main task. Being yoked to the master saved the novice from the weariness that comes from chasing after every stimulus that cries out for attention.
Here is a different way of reading the verses Sheldon Sorge refers to: from The Message translation of the Bible.
“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.”
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you – now and forevermore…