Today’s gospel reading was taken from Matthew 11:
16 “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
17 ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”[a]… …25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank[b] you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[c] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I’ll admit I was probably a little more giddy at being able to insert Harry Potter into my sermon today than any adult should be; but the wand chooses the wizard, and I was all the way down Diagon Alley preparing for Hogwarts’. Expecto patronum!
My family ancestry is as broken and beautiful as any family’s. It’s true that realizing that over 10 generations of Puritanism exists in my history made me ashamed. And it’s true that this reality that I cannot change is terrifying for me. However, chains can be broken. I can learn to see beauty and redemption in past atrocities my people inflicted on others, and I can learn to see how I might be perpetuating the same kinds of violences and oppressions on myself and others that the people of Salem did long ago.
How now will I live?
Jesus said “Come…my yoke is easy. My burden is light.”
Invitation and assurance.
Why do we insist on burdening people with heavier yokes, choking them to the point of being hung, all in the name of a peaceful faith?
No one deserves being weighted down by fear or coercion. And no one need bring baggage to the life of discipleship that will somehow make following the footsteps of Christ more pure or pious or holy. That we do so anyways shows us how fearful we are, how proud we are, or how shallow we are.
What weight am I adding to this life of discipleship when Jesus says: