On Sunday, we took a look at Jesus’ promise to the crowd in Matthew 11: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I said that these words must have sounded outrageous at the time, based upon what Jesus had just instructed his disciples to do: proclaim news that could get them crucified, cure those who are sick physically, mentally and spiritually (without medical, psychological or divinity degrees), and raise the dead—and do all of this without any money, supplies or belongings! Jesus told the disciples that many would despise them, beat them, throw them in prison and even try to kill them, saying to them, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.”
In order to understand what Jesus meant when he said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” we looked at the context of life in the Roman Empire where the imperial yokes and burdens weighed so heavily on the backs of most people that they squeezed the very life from them. Jesus was offering an alternative way of being, and he called it (according to Matthew) “the Empire of the Heavens.” Imagining such a vision was one thing, but to talk about it publicly (proclaim the good news) and act to bring it about was dangerous and risky!
Some 700 years earlier, the prophet Isaiah also lived during a time of heavy yokes and burdens, and he too imagined a way of being in the world where yokes and burdens were lifted. Like Jesus, Isaiah was also aware of the danger and risks involved, as well as the energy it would take for those who were committed to such a vision. For Isaiah, like Jesus, it was God’s gracious presence and clear calling that kept him going. Therefore, he knew that…
Those who wait for the Lord
shall renew their strength!
They shall mount up with
wings like eagles!
They shall run
and not be weary!
They shall walk
and not faint!
May you find such strength, energy and hope as you go about serving God today!
Kahu Alan Akana
“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by Koloa Union Church, an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.
To see a video of this week’s worship service, including the message, click HERE. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see previous worship services and many of Kahu’s past messages. You can subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them.
You are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! To see our Sunday morning schedule, click HERE.
Kahu Akana is also an accomplished artist! He specializes in creating vibrant watercolors of the flowers of Hawaii and hosts a Sunday afternoon reception in a gallery at his home, the Smith Memorial Parsonage. He also meets visitors by appointment. Most of the profit from the sales go for the maintenance and upkeep of the parsonage. To see a video about his art and gallery, click HERE. To see the gallery website, click HERE.