“Come to me…you will find rest for your souls…my yoke is easy”
We are pilgrims on a journey, alone and together – pilgrims heading toward the kingdom.
While the journey can be joyful, it can also be weary, burdensome, even oppressive at times.
Uniquely, we are all searching for God – and life gets in the way…we may discover ourselves searching alone and in vain.
Sometimes because of choices we have made or decisions to carry what isn’t ours to carry – worries, perceived obligations, deeply rooted ‘shoulds’, fears and anxieties. Other times we are faced with illness or troubles that we would not bring on ourselves.
Whatever it is, Jesus says, yoke yourself to me – learn from me – I have your back, trust me, you will find rest.
Can we put on that yoke? Sometimes the yoke itself is oppressive looking, do we really want that around our neck? How will that help relieve the burden and allow us to experience the peace that only Jesus can give?
Jesus says, ‘my yoke is easy’. William Barclay reminds us that easy comes from the Greek Chrestos, which can mean well-fitting. The Yoke that Jesus offers is custom made for each of us, adjusted to do exactly what it needs to do – no added weight, pulling or nagging.
If the burden is caused by our own decision or anxiety, Jesus can show us how to choose a new path, a new direction, a new way. If it is caused by something beyond our control, Jesus can invite us to hope in the place where there is no more tears, sorrow, struggle or dis-ease.
Chaos can be all around us and it can also be within us – we may find ourselves in the garden wanting this cup removed – but yoked to Jesus we will find the strength, unity and peace of the Father.
The promise of Jesus is that when we can give up our own ways and learn from Him, even though we may still have burdens, we will be refreshed, we will receive new life. Life that includes healing, and freedom that comes from seeing life through the prism of God’s love.
Jesus yoke is light because he helps to bear the burden – he has been there and done that – he has our back! Sometimes the confusion and overwhelming weight are simply the result of us trying to do things alone.
Are we willing to yoke ourselves to Jesus and trust the path that opens up for us?
Faith Offman is the Associate Director of Ministry at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.