Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

How DO we lay our burdens down?

The picture above is from the recent trip on Shuksan and has me thinking about removing burdens. It seems that this precisely where we need to begin in the Christian life. There are burdens, plenty of them in each of us, that need to be released, and it’s right here at the idea of letting go, that I think we can learn from our friends in the east and their teachings regarding non-attachment. Yoda, the supreme Buddhist in my opinion, speaks of the dangers of attachment in the recent finale film.

Like heavy packs for mountaineering, burdens have the effect of turning us inward so that our energies are diverted from our primary callings to love God and other people. This is why, I believe, Jesus invites us to exchange our burden for His. He reminds us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. And as mountaineering so aptly demonstrates, its traveling light that enables us to go farther, serve with greater liberty, and enjoy life more.

For me, this means letting go of a lot: expectations, ambitions, and unhealthy desires.

And yet, it’s critical to remember that Christ calls for an exchange, rather than an utter relinquishment of all desires. When ALL desire is vilified, emptiness becomes the goal. But Jesus didn’t exemplify one who killed desires. He wept over death because he desired life. He sweat drops of blood in the garden because He his desires were not for the cross. He expressed to his disciples that their last supper together was the culmination of a long standing desire of his to share his heart fully. Christ lived with desires – but let go of them when it was needful to subjugate his own will to a higher purpose. And that isn't desired destroyed. That's desire transformed. He asks nothing less of us.


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