by Anita Kuntz
Those who know me realize I am independent and thrive on being busy. My hectic schedule rarely stresses me out because I love all that I do, especially going to church.
I often look around church on any given Sunday and sadly wonder where everyone has gone. With the connected “do-it-yourself” culture, who needs church when we can find whatever Christian message suits our needs at the push of a button?
Recently, surgery reminded me that it takes us all to make something happen. Being informed that I required a total hip replacement at age 54 was unsettling. The day of surgery, I went from being “too busy” to being totally dependent.
My burden is light
When I was down, the comforting words of Jesus came to me: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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 is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
This text became clearer when I discovered that a yoke is a beam of wood that balances the weight of a heavy load. In my vulnerable state, my burden was neither easy nor light. I couldn’t even get dressed by myself; I had no choice but to rely on those around me.
I decided to dig a bit deeper into this text and was surprised to find that Jesus wasn’t referring to everyday burdens but the real burdens of religion and spirituality.
Jesus was a rebel
Jesus was a rebel who broke many rules established by the religion of his day. He focused on spreading unconditional love and putting faith into action. His all-inclusive ministry wasn’t defined by denomination, worship style, entertainment value, race, sexual orientation or gender.
Imagine the possibilities if we, the church, shifted our focus from “Where is everyone” to seeking ways to reach out to the broken and needy. Perhaps now is the time for us to focus on providing a gathering place where love, kindness, tolerance and generosity are unconditional.
When I had no choice but to depend on others around me during recovery, I was overwhelmed and thankful for my community of faithful family and friends.
We need to work together to establish a faith community that reaches out to others. We can’t do it all by ourselves. Who needs church? We all do.
Anita Kuntz is a retired music teacher, a mom of four, and a granny to Abby, Josie, Cooper and Isabella. She and her husband, Barry, are active members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada. This blog is adapted from a Give Us This Day column that first ran in the October 2017 issue of Gather magazine.