BROAD BROOK CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
July 6, 2014
Matt 11:16-19, 25-30
Sharing Our Burdens
As I was leaving for vacation and thinking ahead to today’s sermon the verses from our lectionary readings that stuck with me the most were Matt 11:25-30. In particular were the words from Jesus that spoke about his yoke being easy and granting us rest.
All I could think about were the two communities who were mourning the deaths of a young man and a young woman, each just nineteen years old. Ellington was mourning the death of Austin Peter Tautkus. Over 1600 people had spent hours in line to pay their condolences to the Tautkus family on Saturday June 21st.
On Sunday, I attended Austin’s funeral and the High School Auditorium was standing room only. It was heart wrenching to hear the Austin’s peers tell their memories of Austin. But when the parents spoke there was not a dry eye in the auditorium. I marveled at the strength they exhibited but knew from whence it came. It came from their deep abiding faith in a loving, caring, ever present God that gave them inner strength.
And it also came from a community who shared their burden of loss and grief.
A few days later I once again heard of a community in mourning as I watched the news about a nineteen year old girl who died in a house fire as a result of another teen throwing a sparkler into an open window of the home.
Southington has more than its share of devastating news. But it has been their willingness to share the burden of grief and loss and their faith in God that has seen them through these trying times.
We also have friends of Broad Brook Church who are dealing with the recent loss of a spouse. There are members who are weary from carrying other burdens. We must spread Christian love, share in their burdens and remind everyone that God is with them.
My thoughts now are drawn back to Matt where 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 light.”
A familiar understanding of this reading leads us to believe that following Jesus is easy. However, this does not hold true if the reading is kept in context and understood in relationship to the strenuous demands Jesus places on his disciples in chapter 10 and the rejection in chapter 11.
Where is the rest Jesus offers if his demands are for discipleship are so great?
The easy yoke Jesus speaks of has more to do with a life purpose. It is about working to bring about God’s kindom, working for a purpose that asks for our best. It means doing your part in the scheme of God’s plan to bring about peace, justice, and equality for all God’s creation. To accept that yoke of Jesus, the humble and gentle savior, is to work for a purpose that gives the soul ease.
To those who recognize their need for such a savior, much will be given. There will be comfort enough to lift life’s burdens even for those who are weary and feeling lonely and grief stricken.
As Christians then our work of discipleship is to share our burdens not just with Jesus but also with our fellow disciples along life’s journey.
How much easier it is to bear a burden that is shared than to carry the load alone.
Today we have welcomed Emerson into the family of God. We have a responsibility to help his parents, grandparents, and godparents to teach him the tenets of our faith. They cannot do it all.
Our work as disciples is: to be examples of good stewards of God’s creation, to share in the burdens of discipleship, and to tell Emerson how much God loves him.
It is our responsibility to help Emerson know that Jesus is present more in times of need than in times of plenty but also that no matter what nothing can separate him from the love of God.
That is what the communities of Ellington and Southington did and are continuing to do in the wake of the death of two vibrant young people whose families are struggling to heal.
We must share our burdens with our Savior and with each other. God, the loving parent, is always present with comfort enough to go around for all those who are in need.
Is the yoke easy? Yes if the weight is spread around, if our burdens are shared.
That is the good news this morning. I offer my thoughts in the greatest of hope! Amen.