“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”
~ Matthew 11:28-30
Yesterday morning as I was getting up, as my feet hit the floor, I suddenly was caught up in a thought. As I took my first step, I felt the weight of my "tired self," and suddenly thought what the weight of the cross must have felt like for Christ.
It's not often that we are asked to visualize the journey of Christ the day that he was forced to carry the cross.
This thought continued on and it became the opening words to my sermon where I was preaching to a group I have spent over the last year with. Do we consider the weight of the cross? How much heavier did it become for Jesus with each step? With each drop of sweat, mixed with blood, stinging the eyes of Jesus, as his mind must have raced from pain, he continued, step by step.
We experience only a glimpse of what this must have been like when life seems to overwhelm us. Try as much as we hope we can, we are often weighed down, or even paralyzed, by the weight of uncertainty. I try not to let things "accumulate," on my shoulders, but they do. The infatuation with, "doing it myself," has become the motto for many, including myself. So many of the conversations that I have with my hospice patients involve learning how to "surrender," or to "ask for help." Unlike the cross of Jesus, the crosses that we bear are often not our own. They are often perceived as something that we simply, "must carry."
Learning to accept, or to own, the things that belong to us can often be a source of learning throughout life. Learning to let go of the things that don't belong to us can often be a source of fear and heartache when others don't realize that we can no longer carry the burden that no longer, or never did, belong to us in the first place.
In Matthew we are reminded, "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." (Matthew 11:29)
During our Lenten journey, the weight of the cross can be overwhelming. The weight of our own "selves," can be overwhelming as well. Learning to discern what is ours can be both freeing and life-changing. Sharing these things with God, can bring both reconciliation and liberation.
Step by step, as we journey, as we bear our own cross, Jesus keeps saying, "Let me carry this with you."
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.