Called to Advent–yoking

Horse Team by Edvard Munch

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.
Matthew 11:29-30

An old fashioned yoke, a solid wood piece that fits over and under the necks of a team of oxen, guarantees that the two must move in synchrony and pull together, unlike the more flexible harness and collar of a team of horses. In harness, one of the team can hold back and not share in the load, but the yoke is always shared. What one carries, so the other walks along in step sharing the same burden.

I draw great comfort from being invited to be yoked with Christ, knowing He is right alongside me, pulling with me and for me, understanding the load I bear. What better team mate can there be, teaching me in gentleness and humility, telling me when it is okay to take a breather and rest.

I need that now. I need Him alongside always.

What can be lighter than a burden which takes our burdens away, and a yoke which bears up the bearer himself?

– Bernard of Clairvaux

Did you ever stop to ask what a yoke is really for? Is it to be a burden to the animal which wears it? It is just the opposite: it is to make its burden light. Attached to the oxen in any other way than by a yoke, the plow would be intolerable; worked by means of a yoke, it is light. A yoke is not an instrument of torture; it is an instrument of mercy. It is not a malicious contrivance for making work hard; it is a gentle device to make hard labor light. [Christ] knew the difference between a smooth yoke and a rough one, a bad fit and a good one… The rough yoke galled, and the burden was heavy; the smooth yoke caused no pain, and the load was lightly drawn. The badly fitted harness was a misery; the well fitted collar was “easy”. And what was the “burden”? It was not some special burden laid upon the Christian, some unique infliction that they alone must bear. It was what all men bear: it was simply life, human life itself, the general burden of life which all must carry with them from the cradle to the grave. Christ saw that men took life painfully. To some it was a weariness, to others failure, to many a tragedy, to all a struggle and a pain. How to carry this burden of life had been the whole world’s problem. And here is Christ’s solution: “Carry it as I do. Take life as I take it. Look at it from my point of view. Interpret it upon my principles. Take my yoke and learn of me, and you will find it easy. For my yoke is easy, sits right upon the shoulders, and therefore my burden is light.”

… Henry Drummond (1851-1897), Pax Vobiscum

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