Lay it Down

The Grapes of Wrath, film 1940

My family hails from Plant City. A town most known for its world famous Strawberry festival, found smack in the middle of the state of Florida. Like so many families during the depression, work became the destination. Wherever it could be found was wherever you would go. Leaving their home in South-Central Georgia, with 7 kids in tow, my family made the trek southward to Plant City, much like the Joads of Steinbeck’s
The Grapes of Wrath.

I know this… a man got to do what he got to do. – John Steinbeck

There comes a time when laying down your former life is the only choice you have. Whether the dust of Kansas, or the clay of Georgia, the search for something better forces us to lay down old ways, old habits, and old places.

When you lay it down, you let it die.

Out of death, comes the freshness of new life. Ash Wednesday and Lent signal our need to lay certain things down. To let them die, with the promise given us of picking up something far greater. A better life, in a better place. A place much closer to God’s kingdom than where we have come from.

They’s a time of change, an’ when that comes, dyin’ is a piece of all dyin’, and bearin’ is a piece of all bearin’, an’ bearin’ an’ dyin’ is two pieces of the same thing. An’ then things ain’t so lonely anymore. An’ then a hurt don’t hurt so bad. – John Steinbeck

What needs dyin’? Where in our lives do we find the things, the places, the darkness that needs letting go?

Jesus constantly asked his followers to see him as the resting place for their problems, their pain, and their burdens. On Jesus, our sin and brokenness, and all the ways we have tried to find happiness, go to die. We put them on him, and with him, they die.

28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30

In his resurrection the freshness of new life lands in our hearts and gives us true rest. A glimpse of the promised land that all of us, the Joads and the Thompsons alike, are journeying towards this side of the Jordan.

Lay it down. Let it Die.

Lent Reading II :
Psalm 25:1-10, Mark 1:9-15, Acts 2

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