Thursday, May 14 2020
After the tornado decided to leave 3 trees on my roof, I remember going to my house with my chainsaw in hand not knowing where to start. I felt like I was trying to put out a forest fire with a water pistol. And then people started showing up. Each one did what little they could and eventually we dug out. Now that the coronavirus has wreaked its havoc, many of us are looking around at the damage caused and wonder where to start.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). This comes right after he identifies the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control – which never break the Law. Paul then makes direct application – restore the wayward and help the struggling in real and tangible ways. The word “bear” refers to taking up something with one’s own hands and speaks of personal involvement. A burden deals with anything heavy, troublesome or weighs one down. This could be physical, relational, emotional, or spiritual.
After 8 weeks of the Corona-vacation or the shutdown (depending on how you see it), many if not all of us are burdened in some way, shape or form. These burdens may relate to job loss, financial stress, or relational difficulties. They may involve difficult emotions, hard decisions, and unpleasant choices. Now is the time for us to take care of one another and find ways to bear one another’s burdens. This is what being the church – the community of Jesus – is about.
So let me encourage those among us who are presently strong to be alert to the needs of those who are weakened at this time. Look after those you know. When you hear about that “thing” - make the phone call, write the note, reach out to check on them.
And let me encourage those who are weakened to reach out to others for help – perhaps with a close friend, a small group, or an elder or minister of the Church. Sometimes we can feel like everybody knows and nobody cares when in fact everybody cares but nobody knows.
So in the words of Paul translated by Eugene Peterson in The Message: “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).