St John the evangelist

wotton, surrey

in the heart

of the surrey hills

The church will be open on Sunday afternoons until the end of September

David's Reflection September 20th

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

It seems rather strange that Jesus’ recipe for us to find rest is to impose a work tool on us – for that is precisely what a yoke is, the wooden implement to connect an ox to the plough he was going to be pulling. It all seems rather contradictory, picking up a work tool in order to find rest. After all, we’re told not unreasonably ‘Tiredness can kill. Take a break’. But Jesus seems to replace ‘Take a break’ with ‘Take my yoke upon you’.

The key to understanding this, and to finding rest, is in the word ‘my’. Jesus talks of ‘my yoke’. Having spent many years as a carpenter, Jesus would undoubtedly have made yokes. And he would have known, through observation as well as through the comments of farming people, that there was a crucial  difference between a yoke that didn’t quite fit, and one that fit the measurements and shape of an individual animal perfectly. The one that didn’t fit would cause discomfort and lead to less effective work, but the one that was an exact fit would make the work relatively unburdensome, as well as far more productive.  His words of reassurance to us is that the same care in designing the yoke that is perfectly crafted to fit a particular ox, is the care with which he chooses our path and the tasks he calls us to.

And doing what we were designed to do, with the perfectly designed yoke, is in a way strangely restful.

 

Lord, may we find our freedom and our rest in service and labour for you, now and for the rest of our days on earth. Amen.