Zechariah 9:9-10; Rom 8:9, 11-13; Mt 11:25-30
"Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to you I offer praise;
for what you have hidden from the learned and clever
you have revealed to the merest children." ...
Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome,
and I will refresh you.
Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble of heart.
Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.
It is wonderful to listen to Jesus' prayer, giving praise to God for revealing to "children" what remains hidden from the "learned and clever." It is also a bit scary - for those of us who have worked so hard to try to be learned and clever. What might be revealed to me, if I gave up the learned and clever routine, and gave into the "mere child" that I really am?
This child is an adult. Yet, this child still has wonder and awe in my heart. I still have trust. I still have imagination and fascination with discovery. I still have wounds, even a few scars. The process of becoming learned and clever almost covered over the wounds of innocence long ago. My sophistication almost put them in "perspective," or at least out of mind. My serious and insightful understanding of the complexities of life almost got me to a place of unimaginative gravity. My collection of possessions became signs of my success, yet left me bored, strangely unsatisfied and less generous the more I surrounded myself with. My competent sense of control, and independent self-reliance almost left me with no need to trust or be in awe before anyone or any thing. What room is there left for "revelation"? There's enough room in the heart of the child that is still there.
To the child that I still am, Jesus speaks his comforting invitation, "Come to me." He knows. He knows how weary I am. He knows that I am finding that life has become full of burdens. For a moment, all the people and places I have gone to for "refreshment" flash before me. And, I hear his invitation at a new level. "Come to me and let me bring freshness back into your life. Don't be afraid of bringing all of who you are. Even the wounds of the past. Even the embarrassments you cover up. All of your burdens. Even your sin. I will refresh you." To this child, this invitation carries a liberating freshness nothing else I've pursued can bring.
To the child so familiar with adult burdens, Jesus offers a new yoke. Like an ox trying to pull a two ox yoke alone, my shoulders are tired and sore. Jesus invites me to put my yoke down and join him in bearing his yoke. There is where the real learning will happen. My pulling of the yoke was strenuous and proud. My mentor at bearing burdens shows me how to pull gently, with humility.
The revelation this child can still receive is that the heart of Jesus is so much bigger than mine. All of my burdens are still there. He loves what I truly love. My deepest commitments are the ones he has given me and come out of the desires of his own heart. The world he loves, the people he cares for with tender mercy, and the depths of self he gives are so much more than I ever imagined bearing. Yet, yoked to him, the burden is light. There is an ease that gives my soul rest. And, a child's joy.
By Andy Alexander