Sunday Preview from The Rev. Stephanie Kendell: “When We Come to Jesus”
I start this newsletter hoping that you are all in good health and good spirits. However, that doesn’t mean that I assume you are going throughout your week burden free. We are all carrying around burdens. Some we carry willingly, some we carry with resentment, and yet some burdens are not ours to carry and yet they add to the weight of our lives. Part of my burden this week has been the attack on healthcare. The need for healthcare is my burden and it is one that I gladly take on. I want to take care of the body that I have. I cherish the ways it uniquely reflects the God that created it. Yet, I must fight for my healthcare. That is a burden that I resent. I must fight to make sure that my pre-existing conditions (one of which is my gender!) is properly cared for. I call my state representatives to let them know how healthcare impacts my life. I give money and time to organizations like Planned Parenthood who offer healthcare including comprehensive family planning to millions of women and men who cannot afford it. Those are the burdens that I resent that I must carry, but I willingly carry them. I also carry around the burden of anger. Anger that I have to fight to have a say in my body. Anger that to drug companies my friend with cancer is a dollar sign and not a person. Anger that I fight, and give, and speak and yet I still feel like I’m not doing enough. Anger that I am just one person. But then I read this week’s passage from Matthew (11:16-19, 25-30) and realize that some of these burdens that I carry, are not mine to bear, or at least not to bear alone.
‘But to what will I compare this generation?
It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another,
“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.”For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’
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; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 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.
‘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.’
This week we are talking about what it means to come to Jesus and for me that can mean a lot of things but this week it means to share the weight of my burdens with God. Some of these things we share together like my fear over millions of Americans losing their health care. However, Jesus reminds me that some of the burdens that I carry are not mine to bear. My fear of not being enough to make change. Not mine. People telling me that I’m not a “Christian” for supporting comprehensive family planning (including abortion services, mental health, and preventative education). Again, not mine. Jesus is here to carry these burdens that are not ours. Coming to Jesus means offering our whole self to the one who is bigger than all of our problems. Coming to Jesus is not a fix all for our problems but it does mean that we never face them alone. We have community to hold us in the light. We have church to hold us in faith. And most importantly, we have Jesus to hold us in love. [Because Jesus is not divorced from our burdens. Jesus is intimately involved in women’s healthcare (Matthew 9:20-22), Jesus makes sure we have enough (Matthew 15:32-37), and Jesus is with us always (Matthew 28:20).]So, this week if you find yourself with a heavy burden, take a breath and offer the yoke of your burden to Jesus. Give your spirit the gift of self-care. Let the love of our God ease the burdens that are not yours to bear.