Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Cross to Bear

The only question that remains for us, then, is really two: what is this burden, and what is this yoke that we bear? 

The burdens that most of us talk about all the time are the burdens of this world - not having enough money, not having enough career opportunities, not being completely healthy, not being able to control the weather. We often talk about our burdens as all of the things that go wrong in this life, as all of the broken things of the fallen world. 

But these are not the burdens God has given us. These things, as difficult as they seem, they're just chaff. They're nothing. They're dust in the wind, meant to distract us and to close our eyes to the things that are really around us. 

Jesus says He will give us His burden, for it is light. And what is Jesus's burden? It is love. It is grace. It is mercy. It is sight for the blind, sound for the deaf, movement for the lame. It is the forgiveness of sins and the healing of hearts. It is the restoration of creation to its intended design. These are His burdens.

They ought to be ours.

These are the things we ought to be concerning ourselves with. We ought to be bearers of love in this world. We ought to be bearers of grace. Peace, mercy, healing - these ought to be our burdens. They don't feel like the "light" things - they feel like the hard things - but these are the things that do not pass away, and these are the things that do not run dry. 

And how is it that we should carry them? How is it that we should engage our entire being in bearing the weight?

Jesus showed us this, too, on His way to Golgotha. 

It is no accident that Jesus speaks of a yoke and then shoulders His cross. It is not mere coincidence that the very burden of the ox in the field becomes the burden of the Savior on the street. This is exactly what Jesus's imagery has been leading us toward, and here it is, complete with the call that we should do the same - take up our cross and follow Him.

Here again, we run into a bit of confusion - didn't Jesus say that His yoke was easy? The cross doesn't seem easy. It seems hard. Super-hard. 

So we have a yoke that doesn't seem easy and a burden that doesn't seem light, and yet, Jesus says that they are just this. Why? How? It is because, as the ant, as the grasshopper, as the butterfly, Jesus has learned to carry this cross with the fullness of who He is. You might even say, He was made for this. 

And so were we. 

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