Eleventh Day of Advent   15 comments

Above:  Yoked Oxen

The Yoke of Faith



Isaiah 40:25-31 (Revised English Bible):

To whom, then, will you liken me,

whom set up as my equal?

asks the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens;

consider the one who created these,

led out their host one by one,

and summoned each by name.

Through his great might, his strength and power,

not one is missing.

Jacob, why do you complain,

and you, Israel, why do you say,

My lot is hidden from the LORD,

my cause goes unheeded by my God?

Do you not know, have you not heard?

The LORD, the eternal God,

creator of earth’s farthest bounds,

does not weary or grow faint;

his understanding cannot be fathomed.

He gives vigour to the weary,

new strength to the exhausted.

Young men may grow weary and faint,

even the fittest may stumble and fall;

but those who look to the LORD will win new strength,

they will soar as on eagles’ wings;

they will run and not feel faint,

march on and not grow weary.

Psalm 103:1-10 (Revised English Bible):

Bless the LORD, my soul;

with all my being I bless his holy name.

Bless the LORD, my soul,

and forget none of his benefits.

He pardons all my wrongdoing

and heals all my ills.

He rescues me from death’s pit

and crowns me with love and compassion.

He satisfies me with all good in the prime of life,

and my youth is renewed like an eagle’s.

The LORD is righteous in all he does;

he brings justice to all who have been wronged.

He revealed his ways to Moses,

his mighty deeds to the Israelites.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,

long-suffering and ever faithful;

he will not always accuse

or nurse his anger for ever.

He has not treated as our sins deserve

or repaid us according to our misdeeds.

Matthew 11:28-30 (Revised English Bible):

[Jesus said,]

Come to me, all who are weary and whose load is heavy; I will give you rest.  Take my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted; and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to wear, my load is light.

The Collect:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Freedom can exist only within the context of rules; to deny this reality is to commit the error which resides at the heart of anarchism.  Yet one must be careful about the rules to which one submits, for there are just laws and unjust laws.  I know this as a student of history.  So I consider the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made aiding and abetting the escape of slaves a federal crime within the United States while I praise those moral giants who violated it, thereby making themselves criminals.   They obeyed the law of God.

The yoke of Jesus is the yoke of faith.  It is a yoke one assumes voluntarily, not a yoke anybody imposes on another.  Obedience to God can lead to suffering and/or death, but even then it guides one to life eternal in this life and the next.  God, who gives us true life and helps us to live into our potential, directs us into paths of righteousness.  And, if we are wise, we obey.  When we do this we start on the path which leads to soaring like eagles.

Yet first we must recognize and admit the fact that God knows better than we do.  Yes, we must be humble and surrender our illusions of control.  It can be difficult, but is wise.

The law of God is love-sometimes tough love.  Divine law demands that we love ourselves and each other as bearers of the image of God.  This ethic rules out exploitation of our fellow human beings.  Grace is free, yet not cheap, for it accompanies the law of God, which requires that we surrender all our idols, all that distracts us from God.  Such is the way of life.

Thanks be to God!


Written on May 31, 2010


15 responses to “Eleventh Day of Advent

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