I have been thinking about this in relation to what we have collectively experienced in the last two and half years. We have experienced varying degrees of trauma – disruption, loss, anxiety, stress, uncertainty – related to the pandemic. We have witnessed national and international events of violence, racism, abuse of power and political crisis. Individually, we may have also experienced personal loss and crisis that are unique to us. Our hearts and bodies have carried and continue to carry a great deal.
We also keep going. We get used to things as they are, and then adjust to them as they change again. We get up each day with whatever tasks are ahead of us. Often, we expect that we just have to keep carrying whatever burdens we are accumulating. Global pandemic? Pick that burden up and keep going. Loss? Pick that burden up and keep going. Anger and despair? Pick that burden up and keep going. Crisis? Pick that burden up and keep going. Until our hearts and bodies are weighed down to the breaking.
Maybe, like me, there comes a moment when the weight of it all comes crashing in – either in the form of sudden tears, a burst of anger, or a lethargy that creeps in. Perhaps you have other words – I invite you to describe it for yourself! What is your heart and body carrying?
I think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
These are words for us in a world that encourages us to pick up the burden and keep going on our own. These are words that will unmask the ways we try to rely on ourselves. These are words for our daily lives.
Church, may we learn from Jesus. May we surrender our burdens and rest. May we pray with one another and create space for honest lament. May we cry when we need to cry. May we laugh when we need to laugh. May we bear one another’s burdens. May we not rely on our own strength to do so, but on the strength of the Spirit.
And in doing so, may we discover a burden that is light, because we do not carry it alone. God is with us.
Peace be with you,