I read recently a story similar to the one I about to tell and it reminded me of this one, so I start with this story.
A daughter came home and fearfully announced to her mother that she had dented the car. She was expecting a tirade about being out too late and her carelessness and how the family was not rich enough to pay for her negligence. To the daughters shock her mother told her that she needed to go to a body shop and get the damages assessed and then figure out a way to pay for it. Her calmness unnerved the daughter.
A little while later the woman’s husband walked in and in a steady voice said he had decided that he was going to go golfing with his friends on the weekend. He realised that not all the chores had been done but he had wanted to go for quite a while. His wife responded that she thought it would be wonderful for him to spend some time with his friends. He was shocked.
That same afternoon the son came in and simply laid his report card on the table. The marks were quite por. He waited for the explosion. His mother said that it was not good and he really needed to work harder.
All three were amazed at her reaction but also a little concerned. They had never known her to be so calm in the face of difficulties. The wondered aloud if she had been drinking of perhaps got into something to smoke. They decided to do an intervention before she got out of hand,
They sat her down and demanded to know why she, the woman who always loud and demanding, suddenly had this huge change of reaction.
She sat there and said that she knew she had been aggressive in the past, It was because she felt that she always had to be in control and fix everything. She went on to say that she had been searching for ways to limit the anger she felt. She had tried yoga and relaxation. She had tried psychology and counselling and all of them had told her pretty much the same thing. It reminded her of a wall hanging that had been on her grandmothers wall. Let Go and Let God. If you can’t sleep give your worries to God, God is up all night anyway. I decided that I would try that advice. It seems corny but I think it made a difference to me. The family was amazed
The scripture today holds the same advice. Jesus says, “My yoke is easy”. It was likely a pun. Jesus was a carpenterand in those days part of his job would have been making yolks. A yolk can be a piece of harness for animal but it also can be for humans to help them lift loads. They were often fitted to the individual because each of us is built differently. Ask any mirror about how different people are. We all have bumps and angles particular to us.
It is the same in our lives. We all have problems, particular to us, but because we are different, they affect us in unique ways. All you have to do is watch a local Facebook community like Alcona Chats to see how some people get wound up about something that someone else thinks is funny. Or be aware of how some people seem to let things roll off while others lose sleep over it.
Years ago I worked in the theatre. In one particular show about Billy the Kid at the St Lawrence Theatre, I was considered part of the cast. I thought that was great until I learned that we all had to do the preshow physical exercises. It was called the Cat and it was a way of releasing yourself from whatever was preoccupying your mind. You were to hand your worries off to the universe so you could concentrate on your character.
Virtually every self-help or enrichment program will tell you the same thing. You have to get outside yourself in order to have peace.
Remember Ann Landers? “Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
There are two aspects to the Christian faith. One is political. It is absolutely mandatory that if you are a Christian your goal is to make this world better and peaceful. To bring fulfillment to others, whatever that takes. Many Christians have died for that
But the golden rule says to love God and others as ourselves. We often forget to love ourselves. So the second aspect of the Christian faith is personal. Some would say it is to have a relationship with Jesus. I would broaden it to say – We need to have a relationship with God – whatever you consider to be God. A spirit, a power, a creative force, a caring entity. The point is that God is larger than you. You need to tap into that. When you do, you become a different person. You become more grounded. You become more able to deal with the troubles that life throws at you.
When you are on a plane the flight attendant will tell you that in case of a loss of air pressure, the masks will come down. Put your mask on first and then help others. Otherwise you will pass out and be of no use to anyone. Our natural reaction is to help others first but unless we are healthy we become a liability to others
Again this is true in life. If you don’t care for yourself then you can’t help others. In fact you become a liability to them.
There are ways of accomplishing this. It is different for everyone but one suggestion is to take time each morning to get grounded. Personally I go to the mirror and say “Ha Ha I’m back”
Some of you may want something more substantial. So when you wake up, take some time to welcome the day. Stop first and give thanks that you have one more day. Then spend some time meditating; praying; reading the bible or some other meaningful text. Something that is encouraging with positive energy. The first thing most people do is check their phones or email etc. That jams you right into someone else’s world. You need to make your world whole before you can help others.
Take those moments in the morning or any time of day and realise that you are a part of something that is much greater than you.
When Jesus spoke of a yoke he wasn’t saying he was going to do the work for you,
He was just saying he had ways of making it easier.
This is not to say that we should not take our responsibilities seriously, it just helps to know that you are not alone
How often have you found that a tedious job goes faster with the presence of a helpful person. (I understand that some people can make the job seem tougher but God is not one of those people)
Another part of this is to give up your need for control. When you look around you understand that you are really an insignificant part of the world, and more so, the galaxy. The world was here long before you, and will be long after you. One of my sayings is: “In a hundred years will it matter?” Actually will it matter in 2 days?
Author Steve Maraboli says “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
Again this is not to say we shouldn’t try to make things better. I have a sermon I stole from my dad called Worry and Concern. Worry is useless but concern is vital. (Now you don’t need to listen if I preach it again). If something needs fixing it does matter, but don’t just worry about it, be concerned enough to Do something.
Finally one of the most powerful parts is to know that this connection you have, shows that you are loved. Love is the spirit that binds us together, Love is the connection. We may be insignificant as far as controlling the world but we are a part of the overall collective spirit of love. No one is greater and no one is less. Like an ocean is made of drops of water, they are all equal. When they come together they can float a ship.
When a ship passes over the sea, a single drop can’t support a ship but many drops can. And the amazing part is that no matter how many times the ship passes it never wears the water out. Together the water can continually support the ship.
Try letting go and not attempting to carry the whole load by yourself
You are not alone
Jesus says my yoke is easy. When you welcome in help from a source larger than you, things get easier
Give Us This Day Our Daily Gratitude
That I have been given one more day, I give thanks.
That the birds still sing each morning, impossibly early outside my window, I give thanks.
For the sun rising once again in the East, I give thanks.
That for this day I have bread, I give thanks.
For drinkable water, for breathable air, and Dairy Queen dipped cones I give thanks.
For one more day of mobility I give thanks.
For novelists who create worlds and characters and stories for our minds and not for our TVs, I give thanks.
For the puppy I got at the beginning of quarantine who is currently destroying my life, I give thanks.
For cell phone reception, and I-guess-its-better-than-nothing ZOOM calls and reliable internet service, I give thanks.
That I am loved, I give thanks
That I am forgiven, I give thanks.
That I am alive, I give thanks.
That you, O God are known by many names, I give thanks.
That you, O God are present when I feel only your absence I give thanks.
That you are God and I am not, I give the most thanks. Forgive me when I forget that one.
And for every other gift I am too self-obsessed to see, but that totally comes from you -Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
We pray now for people who are close to us, We pray for others who especially need pray at this time.
Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us.
Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen
SERVICE June 28
Hymn – 374
Scripture Matthew 11: 25-30
Hymn 625 I feel the winds of God
Go now in Peace
Go now in peace, Never be afraid
God will go with you, each hour of every day
Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do,
Go now in love and show you believe
Reach out to others so all the world can see
God will be there, watching from above
Go now in peace, in faith and in love
Amen, Amen, Amen