Saturday, October 27, 2007

Religion: Who Said It Was Gonna Be Easy?

The comments section of the October 23rd post over at Disputations entitled "The Hard Way" is headed up by TSO's comment:

Given that the evidence is pretty solid that Christianity is indeed hard, it does take faith to emphasize: 'My yoke is easy, My burden light."

There ensued from this some discussion of how it is possible to reconcile this saying of Jesus to the fact that Christian discipleship is hard, as indicated by the post's title and purport. I made an attempt at addressing this question at Disputations, and since the topic relates nicely to reflections previously posted here and here, and especially here, I have decided to make a post of it, as follows:

To live in this world is inevitably to experience sickness, pain, loss, death. It is to experience the agonizing shame of sin and the humiliation of being seen as culpable by God, and by our fellow man. It is to experience the false sense of personal power that comes with the illict pride we nurture when we think we've gotten the upper hand in life and have risen above our brothers.
Suffering is the antidote for such false pride.
With regard to suffering per se, the key concept is acceptance. We may understand our acceptance of the Necessity entailed by our existence as obedience. God has made us as we are, towards which creation our proper response and orientation is praise and gratitude.
As Christ, who was perfect in His innocence, was obedient to the Necessity that He suffer and die on the Cross for our sake, so must we, with the help of grace, in praise of God's goodness, and in gratitude for His sacrifice, pick up our own meager crosses and follow Him.
His yoke is easy, because it is simple. We don't have to find it, or figure it out for ourselves; it has been given to us, gratis. His burden is light, because it is all that we need, henceforth, to bear. We have put down the crushing weight of the world and all of the unbearable burden of our sins, and all that we need to shoulder now is that bare minimum which is asked of us, in exchange for Life Eternal.