a meditation for the weary

It was from Matthew 11. “I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” This struck me. “You don’t have to go back to what is heavy and ill-fitting.” Why do so many of us assume God’s way or will is always something heavy and hard, even ill-fitting, that God wants to make martyrs of us all? Not that it never happens or we’re never asked. But if we are, it comes not from some obligatory spiritual duty but a desire, vocation, calling; not martyrdom or suffering for the sake of it. Otherwise Jesus’ words aren’t true. Religion is wearisome. It’s what burns us out. Not the Spirit. Then why are so many spiritually burnt out? Why do we so often assume that if it’s right it must be heavy and hard, it will go against who we inherently are, as if God is flagellatory and expects us to be the same. At times the path will go against our natural inclinations and may lead to suffering, but might this not be the exception rather than the rule? If God made us the way we are and calls it good, then a constant tug of war between how we’re made and a divine leading seems nonsensical. Moments will come when we’re asked to enter a difficult space (“not my will but yours be done”). But as a rule? 

Before Christ’s suffering there was his family life, his trade, meals and wine drinking and friendship and laughter—a very good, real, and human life. Life is both good and hard, light and heavy, and we cannot always attribute suffering to “God’s will” as much as the broken reality of human existence—choices and circumstances and evil and injustice, much of it beyond our control, not necessarily ordained or condoned or conducted by God (or the devil for that matter). 

“I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” I come back to these words. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?” This is me. This is many of us. But then, “Come to me…I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” And this is why I won’t let go. Someone gets it. Someone came to free us from the weight of religion (even Christianity if it becomes as such), this burden we were never meant to carry. Loving means following. And it’s a joy, an honor, born not of the heaviness of religion—or Christianity—but the rest of belonging and being loved.

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