Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 (click for full reading)
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” –Matthew 11:27
The Things We Carry
(Click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
Our guest preacher David read to us from the book “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, about soldiers during Vietnam, and all the things they carried on their backs while they traversed jungles and marshes. O’Brien wrote about the weight of each item carried by each soldier, from the pack, to the boots, to the helmets, to the contents of the pack and even personal items. And then there were the intangibles:
“They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidty, the monsoons, the stink of fungas and decay, all of it, they carried gravity” (Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried)
We too carry a lot on our shoulders. Some seen, some unseen. We carry stress and grief and worry and bitterness and anger.
Some days we just want to throw our hands up in the air and say, “That’s it! I give up! I’m not getting out of bed today”
Is that you?
Have you had “one of those” days? Weeks? Months?
Today’s Gospel reminded us that when we carry heavy burdens, Jesus comes and offers to take our burden. “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”
But it doesn’t stop there, because Jesus trades all that we carry for all that he does, and what he carries is different.
It’s new life. It’s abundant life.
“My yoke is easy” Jesus says, “and my burden is light”
Take the trade. It’s not a fair one, but it’s the best one.
Questions to ponder/discuss:
1. What things are you carrying today?
2. What, if anything, is holding you back from making the exchange with Jesus?
3. Imagine, if you can, what your life might be like if you gave up those things you carry and exchanged them with Jesus for the new life he is offering? How might you feel? How might your day to day be different?
When you hold your hands out and take communion, you are partaking in this unequal exchange. He takes your sin and burdens and gives you a reminder of the new life he has given to you.
Take a moment and hold your hands out and imagine physically handing the things you are carrying over to Jesus. Feel the weight being lifted off of your shoulders, and feel the lightness that comes with the new life of Christ.