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Fiction has a series of bags and pockets that seem to contain magical depths. From Lily Bobtail’s ‘just in case’ pocket (from which string and other objects emerge to save Peter Rabbit from peril)…

… to Mary Poppins’ magic bag (from which hatstands, mirrors, plants and lamps emerge to make her room more habitable)…

… to Hermione Granger’s small, beaded, purple bag (from which clothes, books, potions and Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak emerge)…

… we see small items which have apparently endless capacity and long for such articles ourselves.

Failing possession of such bags, we have to resort to increasingly efficient packing and bigger bags! We pay extra for the privilege of having 22kg of baggage with us on our holidays. We buy bigger cars to cram in all the ‘stuff’ that we deem necessary for everyday life (pushchairs, car seats, camping equipment and so on.) Life may not consist in the abundance of our possessions (Luke 12:15), but you’d never think so from a cursory examination of our lives.

Many of us seem to carry our 22kg baggage allowance around with us on a daily basis, not just for a holiday! Imbued with Lily Bobtail’s ‘just in case’ philosophy, we seem to think we need to carry emergency provisions everywhere. Unsurprisingly, we become weary and burdened along the way.

Jesus’s invitation was to such people: ‘come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ (Matt 11:28) When we feel we have to carry everything around so we can cope with every emergency and tragedy of life, it’s a cumbersome thing. God does not intend us to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Our shoulders were not designed for that.

Instead, God offers us an exchange. We lay it all down at His feet and take His yoke upon us – one that is light and easy to bear. (Matt 11:28-30) He offers to walk alongside us, providing grace and strength to us at the right time. We don’t have to store this in ever increasing bags, hoarding it as a miser hoards silver and gold for a rainy day. We simply walk alongside Him, seeking His kingdom first, and we find the other stuff provided when necessary.

This is a radical, new way of living. It’s one which provides rest for our souls. As we learn the unforced rhythms of grace, we find a lightness in our spirits. Because God cares for us, we can live care-free lives, without baggage. (1 Pet 5:7)