People are rich. And I don’t mean wealthy here, but I mean that folks who we happen to bump into and get to know have a lot to them. People are multi-faceted. It’s so, interesting, for instance, to hear about people’s hobbies. They can be so different. And as we get to know each other, we find that we can fit with different people like puzzle pieces. I can connect with someone because they love soccer, but maybe not connect with them because they enjoy pulling weeds. So on and so on. As we find our ways to connect as puzzle pieces, it shows the beautiful, full picture that we are. I think right now we miss that a lot… we don’t see the full picture as much. It feels to us like we have make the full picture from memory.
And when we do that, it seems like it creates caricatures. We’ve all had them. You can get one at the zoo. When they’re done, they exaggerating things to comic or grotesque extents. I know my chin does not protrude as much as it does in that picture, but it’s what the picture shows. I think we’re feeling that too - ways we might have felt about the big picture before are steading becoming more and more distorted, more like a caricature. We feel the extremes way more, and even if we know it’s completely not true, experience it. Things upset me more than they did 6 months ago. I also am more excited about when good things happen than I did. My whole body feels like it’s constantly living in extremes. And it takes that much more effort to try to undo exaggeration right now.
We witness this in the first part of our lection. Here, Jesus begins to show the extremes of the moment. The one I like the most is the comparisons of Jesus and John. Jesus points out the caricatures that the two had become.
Jesus offers us an out - an easy yoke and a light burden.
Jesus invites us to an exchange - a chance to stop carrying the load we demand to carry, and instead to take on Christ’s. The gift of Christ’s yoke and burden is that they’re not caricatures. They’re what we’ve always known. It’s way that all of the extremes of the world can start to revert to normal. Jesus Christ’s yoke is our center. Lance Pape (Professor of Homiletics at Brite Divinity): What Jesus offers is not freedom from work, but freedom from onerous labor. Soul-sick weariness is not the inevitable consequence of all work, but rather of work to which we are ill suited, of work extracted under compulsion and motivated by fear, or of work performed in the face of futility. There is also the weariness that comes from having nothing at all to do that truly matters. The easy yoke means having something to do: a purpose that demands your all and summons forth your best. It means work that is motivated by a passionate desire to see God’s kingdom realized. It means work toward a certain future in which all of God’s dreams will finally come true. To accept the yoke of the gentle and humble Lord is to embrace the worthy task that puts the soul at ease. Jesus also invites us to put on his yoke and to learn from him.
If this is a burden you feel like you’re carrying, it’s okay to lay it down. It’s okay to rest - to find your gentle and humble heart again. But we’ll be ask to take the yoke and be directed by Christ again.