Both of my grandfathers were farmers, beginning their careers in the days when farmers followed teams of Clydesdale horses yoked together pulling ploughs across South Canterbury and North Otago countryside.
I have no doubt that when they heard from today’s gospel that the yoke of Jesus is easy, the image of their farm horses linked to form a team came easily to mind.
One horse could certainly pull much more than a single man, but a yoke enabled a couple of horses, or even a full team, to pull great weights over long distances for many hours.
Its an important image for humans and Jesus would have used it knowing that his hearers would know exactly what he was talking about.
While we might sometimes feel lonely, we are never alone. This is never more true than when we are feeling burdened and in need of rest. In these moments we are ripe for relationship with Jesus and with others.
An invitation: When you feel loneliness, hear the words of Jesus speaking directly to you:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mt 11:28-30