From God's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace
Lectio Divina: “carrying”

Lectio Divina: “carrying”

Gospel reading: Matthew 11.28-end

[Jesus said] ‘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.’


The Greek text reads ‘being burdened’ in the passive voice, which the NRSV has rendered in the active voice “all you that … are carrying heavy burdens”.

The Greek brings to mind the image of a beast of burden that someone else has loaded up, or a person who is subject to and weighed down by the many cares of life.

But ‘are carrying’ implies some agency. We have chosen to pick up the burdens, or we have at least chosen to continue to carry them. It might be duty to family, or issues from our childhood, or the state of the planet and our collective souls. Some of these burdens may not be ours to carry, and we should choose instead to put them down. Some may actually be our burdens, and there may be some we’ve missed that perhaps we might consider as ours. But perhaps at base none of them need be ours, and we only cling to them out of a misplaced sense of responsibility or power.

Instead, use agency in different way. Come to Jesus. Put the burdens down or hand them over.

How? Seek God in prayer. Be a part of that part of the world that is coming to God, a touch point or conduit or lightning conductor. In prayer, imagine giving specific burdens over to Jesus, then the very notion of burdening. Forgive whatever and whoever needs forgiveness and let it go. Work on the psyche, childhood trauma, neuroses, but in everything invite and recognise and let it be through God’s power and healing touch.

And finally, remember that God is full of gentleness and tenderness:

  • ‘Blessed be God day by day, the God who bears our burdens’ – Psalm 68
  • ‘I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child on its mother’s breast’ – Psalm 131


Since April 2020, I have been jointly hosting a shared Lectio Divina group on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. These are my reflections only, during the prayer session and as I wrote them up. Please see my separate commentary and leaflet for more information about shared Lectio.