Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +4)

(Matthew 11: 25-30)

Consider the round necks of two oxen
bowed beneath a wooden yoke, its carved plank
wide and strong: the quiet beasts thus locked in

to shared attachment to the plow, lone flanks
bear less of the strain of the weighted pull.
The iron blade cuts the waiting earth, banks

of brown soil curling like waves caught mid-fall,
and the oxen walk on, hour after hour,
sharing the toil as they might share a stall.

The key to the endurance of their power
of course, is the yoke, its spread of the load,
millennia of bringing soil to flower.

Our culture favours choosing solo modes,
standing alone, self-sufficient, making
our individual way on the road.

But sometimes we must (on mornings waking
to burdens that we each can scarcely bear)
recall Christ’s words to those whose hearts, breaking

from the strain of pulling the plow of care,
long for lessening of the load, for rest
of weary souls. “Take my yoke”, says Christ – there

the burden’s eased; there a new path that’s zest
to walk – his purposes of love and grace;
and when struggling with a challenging test,

God’s harnessed care embraces. Lay your face
beside Christ’s own in the bond of mercy
and peace. Straighten your back; let the traces

tighten and the iron blade bite deep. See
how your own weight of weariness fades.
Find rest in the work of his love. Yoked. Free.

Copyright © 2014 by Andrew King

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