Thursday, October 23, 2008

Easy Yoke

First of all, I want to complain for a minute about people on facebook, with whom I have never been friends in my life, and when it has been years since I was loosely acquainted with them, and now they want to be my friend on facebook. I'm sorry, I have no interest in reconnecting with those people, and I can't imagine why they would want to be in contact with me. I just think it's silly.

Anyway, on to what I consider more interesting thoughts. Keeping in the back of my mind the vein of my previous post, I have for several years, been fascinated by Jesus' words, "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." When I was in junior high school, I read Ecclesiastes, and I was interested to find a little tidbit about wisdom, that said, "wisdom brightens the face and softens its hard appearance." It was the first time I had thought of wisdom that way. Typically, I imagined a wise man as somber and thoughtful, possibly stressed and lined, because of all the weighty matters on his mind. I pictured an old man stooped with the weight of the world on his shoulders. I pictured Jesus carrying his cross. But these words about wisdom began to change my thinking, because they are clearly indicating that wisdom makes a person happy and allows people to live with peace in their hearts. I began to believe that despite Jesus and his apostle's words about suffering, the way of God was really about joy and peace.

As I was growing up, I often heard that being a christian, being a follower of Jesus, was hard. It was something to be considered carefully, because there was great cost involved. These ideas had significant scriptural basis. Jesus specifically told his followers to count the cost, just like someeone building a tower will find out how much it will take in labor and materials and figure out if he had everything he needed to complete the project before beginning it, so we should do with Jesus. Jesus sent people away, because they thought following him would be cushy or fun, and he reminded them, "foxes had holes and birds have nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head." Was this just his way of telling people they should be serious about what they were doing, or was he trying to tell them this was going to be difficult, that it wasn't going to be a walk in the park. That it wouldn't be... easy?

I don't know the correct balance between "my yoke is easy" and "take up your cross," but I do think that a great portion of the church is wondering how to come to that place and feel the easy yoke on their shoulders. I myself am wondering what we're missing. Sometimes I'm wondering if we're just missing the mindset. Maybe if we believed that wisdom brightened the face, we would seek that kind of wisdom and find it. Perhaps if we seek, then we'll find.


andrew j. ulasich said...

I'm reading a book called 'Being Peace' by Thich Nhat Hanh. He talks about meditation, how it is assumed that meditation is just something done to contemplate the suffering of the world. He says, though, that meditation should also bring us to a place where we can smile. That our own peace and the beauty around us can make us smile, bringing joy to those around us. Your post reminded me of that.

I tend to be proud of my thoughtful demeanor, my knowledge of the suffering of the world. But I think I should smile a bit more.

There is a woman who lives across from Prem Ghar who is always smiling. Seriously, always. Calvin and I were wondering this morning what makes her smile. But it makes me happy just to see it. There is wisdom there that I don't know.

Jake said...

Yes, Andrew, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Cool.