Too Heavy To Bear

The mission: to climb to the top of the Amazon Mountains. The purpose: to find the beginning of the Great Amazon River. The explorer: Jean Michel Cousteau, eldest son of the famed Jacques Cousteau.

Narrating the film of the climb, Jean Michel told how the climb was strenuous. Especially near the top of the mountain where the air was thin, each step became heavy and deliberate. Reflecting a moment on those last few steps, the famed explorer said, “They urged us to take along a supply of oxygen, but we decided not to. We could have used it, but we felt carrying the extra weight of the tanks would have caused us to need it.”

I considered his remarks and remembered how Jesus was often critical of the Pharisees. He was especially critical of the “faith demands” they placed upon people. The very thing the people needed – the saving, liberating Good News – was packaged in such a way the people could not receive it because it was too heavy to bear.

The story is often told of the visit to America by the famous theologian Karl Barth. Speaking to a group of students, he was asked what was the deepest and most profound theological truth he had discovered during his many years of theological pursuit. Thinking for a moment he said, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”

Realizing that life and the living of it is not always that simple and the answers not always that easy to come by, we still need to be rooted in the simple Gospel message and make sure we do not make it too heavy for ourselves and others to bear.

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