Grace and Peace to you from God and
from our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. Amen
By now, I hope you realize that I analyze both faith and the world around through song. This gospel reading brings several songs to mind:
After studying this scripture and listening to these songs (several times) one question remains.
What is the heaviest thing you have ever carried?
My guess is that if you tell the truth to yourself the heaviest thing you have ever or will ever carry is not something you can hold in your hands. If you tell the truth to yourself, the heaviest thing you have ever or will ever carry is a burden. Burdens comes in all shapes and sizes, grief, depression, anxiety, fear and sin. These are all burdens one carries in their heart.
I read earliest this week that a recent survey finds that Americans are more unhappy at this time in history than at any other time in the last 50 years. Church, we are unhappy because we are carrying heavy burdens and for some reason we believe we have to carry them alone. Jesus tells us otherwise.
In the beginning of this reading, from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was questioning the current generation. He wanted to know why they did not believe the truth. They did not believe the forerunner of Jesus, the prophet, John the Baptist. Now they did not believe Jesus himself. After pronouncing several, “Woes,” to various cities Jesus stopped to give thanks to God. Jesus thanked God for not revealing the truth to the wise ones (who probably thought they knew it all already) but instead for revealing the truth to the young ones in faith (the ones eager to learn.). Then Jesus gave a command. Not an invitation but a command as he said, “Come to me.” “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Jesus commanded them to unburden themselves, to lay down their heavy load.
Jesus may have commanded, “Come to me!” But he is gentle and humble. Jesus welcomed burdened sinners then and he welcomes them now. Sinners, like you and like me. Why do you insist on carrying the weariness with you? Why do you insist on carrying that heavy load alone? Lay it down! Give up trying to control what you cannot control. Give up clinging to useless power and authority. Give up on keeping it all bottled up inside. Come to Jesus and lay it all down. Weary ones, lay it all down and rest.
None of us go through this world alone. We are bound to one another through Jesus Christ. Your burden is my burden. Your weariness is my weariness. And thanks be to God that Jesus Christ bears all our burdens. Church, lay it all down, your grief, your depression, your anxiety, your fear and your sin. Lay it all down and simply come, come to Jesus. He will give you rest. Amen.
Peace to you,
The Rev. Mary Ann Harris Siefke