We are not beasts of burden

At that time Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me… Wretched human that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:15, 18-20, 24)

The daylight falls like heavy yoke upon weary shoulders.
Another morning to face.
Another mistake to erase.
Waking feels like burden, weighed down.
What I’ve done… What I do… What I want…
curled into tangled mess of spirit,
aching and swollen from fear.
What dwells in this heart —
like dark disease, insidious, growing, malignant.
What bleeds the sickness from this body.

But this voice, softly, a whisper carried on breeze,
caressing sweat-stained brow:
“Gentle, now. Gentle. We are not beasts of burden.”
Head shaken, side to side, to dispel the fog,
to dismiss the myth of invitation.
There is so much work to do.
What I do… What I want… What I need…
curled into tangled mess of flesh,
knotted and sore from labor.
What claims this being. What binds these limbs.

But again, insistent, and present:
“Easy, now. Easy. Rest here.”
And hands brush my back, ease my aches, remove dense chains.
The lightness without them – for a moment –
I’m sure I rise up from the ground – mere inches –
surrounded by air, held by breath and spirit,
for the span of an instant that seeps into memory.
“There is something more. Feel it?
You are something more. Do this.”

The voice is loud now, but I can question still,
Who? Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Who will soothe this wretched soul?
Who will be captive in my place?
What will I be slave to if not for this?
What will dwell in these veins I let go?
There is no voice to answer this time, but breath.
Mine, maybe, or someone else’s, like a steady pulse
in my feet and ears, calling like a dancing rhythm,
that leads the way to wildness, to freedom.
Something deep in my body awakens and answers.


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Filed under Lectionary Reflections, My Faith Journey, Poetry, Theology and Faith

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