A Word from Canon Smalley in the January 28, 2018 Adventurer
I’m afraid to admit how much I worry, what I worry about, and the control it exerts on my life. I also have the feeling that I’m not alone in this.
Jesus addresses our fears, anxieties, and concerns with some regularity. Part of it is certainly pastoral. He is the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep. However, I believe the greater pastoral reason is that our fears and concerns often represent and become our idolatry.
Idolatry is a substitute for God – what we worship, what controls us, where our energy goes. Surely when we worry and become anxious we don’t think we are worshipping and falling into idolatry, but often we are. Subtly our affections and energies are diverted and our focus is directed toward what we long for. It begins to control us as we begin to serve our worry. Jesus addresses this because he is our Savior and deliverer, the one who has come to free us, not bind us.
I don’t pretend that we can be free of all concern, and I am not suggesting that we should be. There are things worthy of concern, but I invite our reflection on where these may be misplaced in our lives.
A response to our condition and an invitation from Jesus are found in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
The invitation to lay down our burdens and the promise of rest and relief are welcome, but there is an important facet of this invitation. The security and rest are represented in an engagement, not in a retreat. In Jesus’ engagement of the world, in his cross and resurrection, he removes what we cannot and frees where we cannot. The old yoke is replaced with the yoke of Jesus, wherein we find freedom and rest.
The above quotation continues: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” What I lift up to you I lift up to myself as well, the perfect rest and security found in the one who seeks us as a shepherd and saves us as a king, upon a cross. Let us pray for that yoke which is easy and that burden which is light.