Today's Lectionary Text
Matthew 11:29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Whatever happened to gentle?
Look around. The word “news” has to be put in quotation marks. Different stations sneer out different facts. And there is little truth to be found. We encounter strife wherever there are differences. Different races, different religions, different cultures, different orientations, different economic levels. Where there is difference, there is fighting.
Look around. Whoever makes the most “noise” wins. The most controversial statement. The angriest attacks against…whoever. The strongest opinions you can lay out there. Anger adds to the pressure, and when we can’t take it anymore, there is violence, shootings, riots. We disagree about everything, loudly. We have conspiracies and scientific studies, and they are equally debated, loudly.
We created a free depository for all the collective knowledge on earth–and corrupted it with anonymous comments and angry memes. You’d have to do some serious searching online to find a corner of the web where you don’t feel…cornered.
Oh, and church? Hard to be gentle there, too. Social issues. Theological interpretations. Picking sides. It’s all very difficult to navigate without feeling like you want to push back a little, or a lot.
Whatever happened to gentle?
Does gentle still exist? Is it hiding in people’s homes, in private, isolated places? Is gentle being drowned out by all the vitriol and strong-arming? Nothing draws attention better than anger, complaining and the provocative.
Are we a post-gentle world now? No more room for the soft touch, the tender word, and thoughtful conversation?
Jesus speaks to the yoke we are called to wear, as disciples. It means living according to the Kingdom, and weighs nothing compared to the weight of the world than comes crashing in all around us. Compared to the way we’ve chosen to live these days, Jesus yoke is easy, and it is gentle.
Christ guides us with a gentle hand, and offers us a gentle way of living. But we don’t take it! We rebel against gentle because it doesn’t provide much traction in this world. We neglect the gentle life because the noisy, violent life seems to be the way to power, to celebrity, to importance.
Whatever happened to gentle? Somehow, the world became impatient, and angry, and very very loud, and we didn’t know what to do other than to join the cacophany.
I want to be gentle. I want to listen, and speak kindly. I want to be tender, and soft. Not weak, but pliable. I want to add to the world’s conversation with integrity and faith, but not with force. Even if no one may listen. I know that God hears me.
I know that when I am gentle, I am being gently led. When I am being gently led, I have taken on the yoke.
And when I have take on the yoke,
I am a disciple.
-Rev. Mitch Todd
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