Monday, October 19, 2009

I am gentle

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I have a small Irish harp that I first learned to play as a child of ten or so. My teacher scared me to death. I had to hold my hands just so, my posture had to be just right and she spent hours correcting my little imperfections. I love the harp but hated playing because I knew I was messing it all up.

Several years ago, my husband gave me harp lessons for Christmas. People who teach Celtic harp are hard to come by. This was a rare and very special gift. My teacher was self taught, with a laugh and a smile that immediately put me at ease. When I asked him about music books and exercise books he just smiled. He said not to worry and that he was going to teach me a song or two each time. With no music scores to look at, I was to relax and just follow what he was doing. At the end of the session, he made a cassette tape recording (the days before everything CD)of the songs I had learned and sent me home to practice. He would voice over instructions and I was to put the tape in and follow along. I cried when I left that lesson. The release I felt and the lightness in my heart made me so grateful for that gentle teacher. I was free to love the harp and find music in me again. The burden I had carried for all those years had been the fear that I was always wrong and always inadequate.

Many of us are heavy laden bearing burdens of inadequacy and failure. We walk around anxious about making mistakes, keeping ourselves from enjoying the world and the music around us. To our burdens, Jesus offers us release and rest, and we are invited to bury ourselves in the tenderness and love of God. Whatever has weighed us down is lifted and whatever bonds that kept us back are broken. Jesus is a gentle savior, a tender shepherd and a loving teacher. May today be the day we leave our burdens - our failures and anxiety- at the teacher's feet. And may we find our music our joy, our lives again.

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