When asked, “What’s the best argument for Christianity?” , the English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, said, “It fits the human heart.”
“It’s easy … let me show you!” was how my friends use to answer the question I posed to them, “How can you carry all that weight?”
My friends were “hut boys” for A.M.C. (Appalachian Mountain Club) in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. One of their many duties was to keep the Huts stocked with provisions. I normally carried packs between 30 and 50 pounds; the hut boys commonly carried twice that weight. They explained to me how they did it.
“We use these wooden frames,” my friends told me, “which allows us to pack things so they cause less wear and tear. Lighter items we put lower down in the lower back area, while heavy items (like boxes of oranges) go shoulder height, or, better yet, just over our heads. By just leaning slightly forward, the higher, heavier weight moves us into our stride while preventing undo pressure on our bodies. By distributing the weight correctly, we are able to bear the weight more easily.”
Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30 in a passage often called “Rest for the Weary”) gives similar advise, “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 light.”
Last spring, elementary children were under great pressure to memorize lines, learn their assignments, and look toward putting on “the perfect play”. At one point, the school children, finding themselves with no supervision, decided to “blow off a little steam” by running through hallways and classrooms – – but not a group of children from our church! They made the decision to not participate in the behavior. Why?
It is easy for parents to stay in bed on Sunday and allow their children to ‘sleep in’. [heaven knows with all they have to juggle, it is understandable] The church parents of the children practicing the play are disciplined and expect their children to be as well. Every child, whether they attend church or not, is taught the difference between ‘right and wrong’, but, some children are given something extra. They are given the ability to reflect on how to handle, and carry, the pressures and burdens of their life; experiencing the same stresses as others, they are able to navigate their problems, experience a deeper connection with God, and live a better life.
Congratulations to parents who give their children the ability (in the words of the hut boys) “to distribute the weight correctly”.