Sharing Our Burdens

The following is Pastor Shannyn’s piece written for the collection of devotions during the October stewardship focus.  The devotion book titled “Thus Far By Faith” can be picked up in the church office for you to read, because P.S. there’s more for us to share about our experiences.

Matthew 11:28-30

28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

On July 2 & 3, 2011 I preached this text with a heavy heart and in a different manner than my ‘normal’ preaching style.  This text came about in the lectionary cycle sixteen days after the death of my dad.  As I read through the texts for the week I felt pulled towards this passage, thinking about the burdens that were hanging heavy, not only over myself, but over our community.

For two months we had been living in a state of tension and fear over flooding issues.  People were moving the items that had sentimental meaning such as scrapbooks along with the other items that told the stories of their lives.  Some moved a few things out of their homes while others moved almost everything they owned.  Those that lived at higher ground generously opened their garages and basements for storage.  It was a stewardship of the space and kindness they held.  I, myself, had planned on moving the items in my office but suddenly that became little concern as I headed to Wisconsin unexpectedly for an unexpected funeral.  Yet, even as I left town my thought was, “Well, if it floods all it will take is a phone call and I know others will move my things if need be.”  What a blessing to know that we as a community were there to shoulder the burdens together.

This passage reminds us that our burdens are not meant to be shouldered alone.  Oxen are often yoked in pairs in order that one is not over taxed.  If an oxen is yoked alone, it is still connected to the driver so the path may stay straight.  This is our reminder that we are not alone on our journey of faith and that we need each other for our faith lives to prosper and grow.  We are yoked together with one another and with Christ so that the yoke is easier and the burden lighter.  Together, we live by faith and together, we walk in faith.

The following is a portion of lyrics from a song shared with me reminding us that together we have come this far–120 years–together by sharing our lives of faith both in burdens and in joys.  Because of one another, our burdens are able to become joys as we reach out to each other in the name of Christ.

                         Come to me, you are weary, I will hold you and softly speak.                                                I know this day seems unending, so I’m sending a little peace.                                I will cradle you close to my chest.  I will take up your burdens and give you rest,       you who are weary if you can hear me, come to me.

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