Revd Thomas Karamakuzhiyil
In our Gospel lesson, Jesus says, “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.”
It has been a wearying time to be the church lately. The grief over the loss of so many lives to the corona virus is a hard weight to bear in our families, in our communities, in our nation, in our world, in our churches. The loss of jobs and livelihoods is devastating. The inability to meet face to face, to congregate, to embrace, to comfort, and to console in person is nothing but a loss – a deep, aching loss. The shutting down of so much and the staying inside so long has felt like a long slog with heavy packs.
The pandemic has exposed truths about ourselves that are hard to face.
Inequalities in health care. Disparities in educational opportunities.
The persistent and pervasive racism in our world today.
So how do we understand the yoke of Christ in the middle of all this crisis we are facing today?
Among the Jews the yoke was put on the necks of two cattle so that together they could pull the plough as one. It always takes a pair to work a yoke. When Jesus asks you to take the yoke, you might as well ask who is your yoke-mate. Your yoke-mate is none other than Jesus himself. The yoke, in fact, belongs to him and he only invites you to team up with him. The yoke of Christ is not just a yoke from Christ but also a yoke with him. To take the yoke of Christ is to associate and identify ourselves with him, our destiny with his destiny, our vision with his vision and our mission with his mission. It is for us to know that we are not pulling the yoke alone and by our power, but together with Christ and by the strength that comes from him. It is to know that Jesus is not just a teacher who gives you homework but also a friend who helps you do it.
So what is our mission with the mission of Jesus now?
Last week there was much news about hundreds of international students and others lined up at the Anglicare SA centres to collect food. Many of them left empty handed because they didn’t have enough food to distribute to everyone there. These are invisible people in our society now in the middle of this pandemic. So I contacted and discussed with Anglicare staff about the kind of help they are looking for. I have discussed this crisis with all the church ministers last Wednesday. They are happy to support us. I have discussed this matter with Dan Cregan MP and Rebekha Sharkie MP. So we are going to collect food in our church hall and then Anglicare will come and collect from here and then will distribute to the people in need.
We, as a church community, helped the Orphanage in Nepal.
We reached out to many people after the recent bush fire in the Adelaide Hills.
Now is the time to extend our love and care to the international students and others in our community who are looking for food and other essential items. This is how we can make a difference in the lives of those who are carrying the Yoke now.
We should never forget that we are yoked with Christ.
To this end, it helps to start each day with a prayer like this: “Lord, help me to remember that there is no problem I am going to face today that you and I together cannot handle.”
This is how the yoke becomes easy and the burden light.