Easter and the lifting of burdens

In light of a recent episode of 'You Can't Ask That', Simon Smart reflects on how the Easter story offers freedom and rest for the weary.

Last week ABC TV’s ‘You Can’t Ask That’ featured six people, who had all killed someone, answering questions about that experience and its aftermath.

Mostly these were tragic accidents that with any kind of luck would have been avoided. One driver saw a four-year-old break free of his mother’s hand and run on to the road in front of her. A young guy lost control of his vehicle and killed his two best mates. A young Dad backed his truck over his 3-year-old son.

The excruciating nature of the viewing was made more intense by the strange intimacy of their detailed accounts—clearly every moment was etched permanently in their memories. The grave and profound implications of taking a human life, even by mistake, could be seen even in the way they carried themselves, in their mannerisms and in an invisible weight they almost all seemed to carry.

I kept thinking of Jesus saying “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” These tormented people looked like they could do with something of that rest.

The Easter account sees God addressing the cost of human fallibility and failure, and the damage we do to ourselves and others, by taking it on himself. It offers a glimpse into a possibility for all of us—the lifting of burdens we are unable to manage on our own.

It’s an unfashionable but tenacious belief in a kind of freedom that can only come from something—or more accurately, someone—beyond us. But often we have to come to the end of ourselves to find it.