In conversation with a few pastors recently, we spoke about Jesus' claim that his "yoke is easy" and "burden is light." As we meditated on the passage, one pastor noted that, as she heard the verses over and again, she imagined a light burden not as a near-weightless load, but rather as a cargo of light.
What an incredible reflection! While Jesus' original imagery definitely points toward the lessening of the weight we must carry, there's something absolutely right about casting this in the direction of our responsibility to bear light to the world, namely, the light of Christ.
1 Thessalonians reminds us of that call as Paul refers to Christians as "children of light." We are those who live in a world enlightened by the incarnation of Christ, by the eternal presence of the Holy Spirit. Yet, much of our culture remains bound in the darkness.
Now, this imagery of darkness seems like a condemnation of evil, but more fairly it is an admission that our culture lives without the light of Christ. Many of our neighbors live without seeing the world through the Son of Righteousness. When we talk about the darkness, we must avoid the propensity to condemn those who still live there, because that is not the point Paul brings forth. His emphasis is on the children of the light, and the responsibility they have - that we have - to live in the light, to carry that light into the darkness, to live on fire with the light of God.
To be children of light is not a permission to condemn the darkness, but rather a commission to live in the midst of it, shining bright the light of our God, the Creator who gave us this light with the purpose of brightening all creation with the presence of Jesus Christ. As children of light, we carry the genes, the impression, the imbued presence of God, who is the Light, wherever we go.
Don't take on the yoke of judgement, which is too heavy for us all. Rather, live the light, that burden which we are called to carry into the world for the sake of Christ Jesus.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.