If you have been on one of my Cathedral Window tours at First Pres. you know that one of the scriptures you will hear me quote is “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (pictured above)
Wrapped up in the imagery of the front window in the Sanctuary, there are many symbols which tie the front window to Jesus’ Invitation to “Come to me,” so much so that it has been called the Invitation Window.
The last couple days in these Morning Reflections, I have been exploring the use of Wisdom, which continue today in Matthew. The context of his words “Come to me” are said in the midst of Jesus explaining that God’s Word has been hidden from some, and that Wisdom resides with those who dwell in him, who dwells in the Father. He is providing a picture of personified Wisdom. This is a common biblical theme.
And then the powerful image: “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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This, too, is a common theme found elsewhere in scripture, and often used as a rabbinic metaphor to understand the difficulty in following Torah, but yet the great freedom that comes with it as well.
In our Great Invitation Window, at the feet of Jesus, whose arms are wide open welcoming the people to come to him, is the picture of a yoke fit for two oxen. Below it is a manifestation of the yoke that reminds us of a light burden – that of the Lord’s Supper, another piece of the powerful invitation theme.
At the table the mystery is complete, confounding those who do not understand. This is part of the trajectory of Jesus’ teaching on wisdom – that of mystery. He begins today’s passage with “I thank 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.” It may seem strange to our Western ears to be giving thanks to God for NOT understanding, but that is precisely what Jesus does.
His ministry is not meant to be fully understood, but to be authentic to the mystery and awesomeness of God. The cross and the table are two major conundrums that may never be fully understood. So it is with God, who is holy, sacred, and whose greatness can never be matched or touched. Jesus gives thanks for this, and declares that in him is rest from the conundrum.
The next Window Tour will be Sunday, May 29th at 12:15 and is called Ordinary Time. It will explore the miracles and parables of Jesus, along with other themes of spiritual growth that we encounter in this long, green liturgical season of summer and early fall. http://www.fpcokc.org/ordinary-time