“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.”
From the Gospel of Matthew
I just listened to Rev’d. Emily’s fine Sunday sermon again. (I hope you are taking advantage of hearing or re-hearing sermons on our website, www. stalbansdc.org. Click on Worship and then Sermons.) It felt like she was preaching to me, but you may feel the same way. She talked about yokes that join us to something or someone; both the yokes that liberate and those that hold us back. And then there are the ones we’re convinced we must carry but really aren’t ours to bear. I’ve had a dim view of yokes.
The other theme that stuck in my brain on Sunday was the closing phrase of our processional hymn, “… lost in wonder, love and praise.” This is what I often yearn for, don’t you? To be adrift in awe, floating in the beauty and wonder of God’s gifts. Untethered. Free to hear, see, learn, and find new joy.
Lost and adrift, but yoked. These seem mutually exclusive. As Emily invited us to do, though, I reflected on being in a yoke with those who help me bear my load when it seems unbearable, and on those who urge me down a road I had not anticipated, where indeed I can taste wonder upon wonder. At times this is Jesus, or a beloved family member, or even a transporting piece of music (for me, Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, 5th movement.) It is the bond I feel looking out at the congregation from my seat in the choir, overwhelmed at being so intimately linked with this faith family. Harkening back to Independence Day, we are only truly free when we know who and what we can depend on, who shares the yoke.
I think being wonder-full is God’s will for us. In Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Celie, who does a lot of wondering, nails it. “I think us [sic] here to wonder, myself. To wonder. …The more I wonder, the more I love.”
I’m going to try to keep Christ’s teaching about yokes as the litmus test for that which binds: to be of God, it must bring spiritual peace. The stronger those bonds, the more freely I feel love. I hope to be more willing to slip into a yoke for another and head down the road God has laid out. It just may be a road of wonder.