Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What a Team!

A lifelong neighbor of ours passed away earlier last week; he was a great guy, and I know he is sorely missed by many.  The funeral was yesterday -- the gummiest, steamiest, wettest day so far this summer.  I was dreading mass in a church with A/C that had been coaxed to start only minutes before, and pews that could have been used during the Spanish Inquisition.  Thank God, He is full of surprises.

The sermon was based on Matthew 11:30 -- "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  The image of the yoke was common in reference to the restrictions an older teacher or rabbi would put on his followers in order to teach them.  The concept of the "yoke" is this:  A farmer "yokes" or binds an inexperienced ox or plow horse to an experienced one in order to teach and train the younger one the skills necessary to get the job done as a team -- routine, pace, the "language" and direction of the farmer.  A yoke is the piece of wood that was custom-fitted to each team to keep them functioning together as smoothly and comfortably as possible.  If the yoke was a poor fit it could cause both animals pain or allow the 'newbie' to go rogue, upsetting the whole process.  Hence, Christ's word -- "easy."  The Greek is "chrestos," which means pleasant, fit for use, profitable, not harsh.  It is not a yoke that chafes or irritates, but mellows, surrounds and guides us to success, providing we yoke ourselves to the One who will never leave us or forsake us.  Imagine your partner for life is the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God of the Universe!
 
After the sermon, I had such a wonderful mental image of my Brother, Jesus Christ and I joined together, yoked together, forever, a team throughout.  I wanted to shake the priest's hand and tell him that if he ever wanted to come to the "dark side" we'd love to have him, but figured I'd best thank him appropriately and keep the line moving.  But if I see my neighbor in Glory, I'll be sure to give him a nod. 
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