25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
To me this language Jesus uses of simplicity is striking. God’s deep wisdom is hid from the academic, intellectual, and powerful of the world. Yet to those who are children it is visible. Discovering this wisdom is pictured like trading in the heavy yoke of the world for an easy yoke, in which we find rest for our souls.
I am reminded as I think of this of what our lives teach us. There is a simplicity of children. They do not see the distinctions of race, sexuality, or gender. The little child simply plays with other children, seeing differences of color or ability as simply another cool shade in the rainbow hues of life until parents, peers, or cultures teach them otherwise. This is even true about sexuality. My wife is a Sunday school teacher at her church and I can’t help but remember what one of the children said when they first encountered that some people are gay. It occurred when, in sharing about their families, one child mentioned she had two mommies.
“What!” the little kid said, “That’s not fair! How do you get two mommies? Mommies are great. I only have one mommy!”
Because the child had not been taught the script yet that families could only have one dad and one mom, but no others, this little guy looked at the world and saw the diversity of families in his Sunday school class as a gift. Some have two mommies, some two daddies, some two sets of parents due to divorce & remarriage, …. Each bringing strength and beauty.
Learning to put aside our long list of ought’s that we impose on ourselves and others and embrace each person we encounter, even ourselves, as bearers of Christ’s presence, is truly letting go of a weight too heavy to bear and embracing a yoke that is lighter in which we can find rest.
I think too of my own practice of meditation. I find many mornings it is so hard. So hard to stop the clock inside. The ticking, tocking, within that leads me away from the place of stillness where I encounter God within my own heart in meditation into the long laundry lists of things to do. I find myself having trouble due to my list of expectations, oughts, have to be’s, not to feel pressured to hurry and do rather than to just be still and know that I am and God is. I find myself too easily jumping into judgment on myself, on others, for all kinds of things in those moments, which keep me from truly seeing the world as it is.
The child is only beginning to learn such judgments, and is free to see the world as it is. Our spiritual practices are ways of becoming in touch with the Christ presence in each moment who can pull away these layers and help us rediscover life.
One thing I rediscover in such times of meditation is the sense that it is not all up to me. I struggle to be like a squirming crying child, unwilling to be comforted by her mother, for on some basic level I believe it is all up to me. If I don’t push, if I don’t make it happen, the good will not come. Disaster will come crashing down. And yet, at the center of our faith, is that we are held. We are like a child in the womb of her mother, for all we look God is. In God we wake up. In God we live. In God we move. In God we have our being. Our whole lives are embraced by the all surrounding presence of goodness. Ever and always God is holding us up, taking us into God’s life, and birthing beauty in us & our world. There is not a moment of separation from this life-giving Presence except in our own imagination. Learning to see ourselves as held by One who can carry our problems and, together with us, birth beauty rather than disaster even in disastrous experiences is too becoming as children.
It is realizing we need not carry the yoke alone, but that Christ carries it with us, lending strength immeasurable to the great boulders we seek to carry on our own shoulders. Let’s embrace that Sacred presence this day and all our days.