An elderly woman, tiny in frame, sat at her dining room table. In quiet tones, she told me about serving as a missionary in war torn countries. She told me of how bombs had dropped in her yard and potential kidnappers had followed her. She told me of the people she loved serving, and how she went to bed and slept in the middle of a war zone. Frail, petite and quiet; to look at her, this would not be the expected paragon of broad shouldered strength. Yet, she had found the right destination to lean on during troubles and in the celebration of victories. She taught me that to share our burdens with each other was not a weakness but a blessing; it both diminished our luggage load and let others be blessed by helping to carry some of that same weight.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
It was said to drop the distractions at the door on Sunday. Leave those disruptive troubles, hopes and plans on the stoop so that I can concentrate on the rituals and teachings of the day. But the swollen knot of stress, grief and hope that sits between my ribs and is choking me does not magically dissolve at the door step. I try, I stand there and wait for it to dissolve. I catch myself questioning, am I really just trying to be more self-reliant and self-protective rather than Christ reliant, more detached from the body of Christ rather than linked into the bond of family?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34
Let’s not leave our disruptions at the door. Instead, let’s carry them in and set these burdens, both light and heavy, down at the altar. For those loads too heavy, large or grand to be carried by one, let us help one another carry them in and set them carefully on the altar. Then, once these things are at their right destination, let us place them safely into the care of the fixer, the dream maker, the healer and author of all good things. It won’t be easy; I know that I am not always so spectacular at making myself vulnerable. It can certainly be uncomfortable for most of us at any moment in time. But especially when this is baggage we have carried with caution and watchfulness, because it is important to us.
Carrying the burdens there, sharing our burdens, loving one another – it is like a city at night, the lights will come on and we will find that we have companions on our journey.