Sunday, April 26, 2009

Grin and Bear it.

"Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."

I have been thinking about this verse a lot over the past several days. It carries with it a lot of responsibility. It carries with it a charge of being Christlike and open to other people, both as the person who has burdens which will be shared as well as the person who is sharing in the burden.

I have struggled for the past 10 years to understand exactly what "church" is supposed to be. I don't think it is a place you go, something you do per se, but instead is who you are as you are connected to other disciples everyday, each day. It is the intimate intermingling of individuals making up cells so connected that when grouped together with the Blood of Christ, all you see is the Body of Christ. This requires great relationship. It means sharing yourself with others, as well as being able to share in the lives of others. It is bigger than the local congregation--it is a universal connection to all believers all over the world in all times. Talking about a huge family!

I remember about 10 years ago an acquaintance was killed in a car accident. I did not know her well, but we had many common connections--the most important connection being our Savior. She was killed on a Wednesday afternoon, and as we went to midweek that night I could not stop crying. Someone asked me if I knew her well, and I said no. They could not understand why I would be so affected by her death. I thought it funny at the time. A young mother and wife, a sister a daughter, a friend had died. People I loved were hurting. How could I not be in tears? How could I not bear this burden with them? My sisters and brothers were in pain--my tears were not for a personal loss, but for the loss of many, and for the loss I imagine God feels each time one of His children experiences the evils of death. (Let us remember--it was not the original plan for us to die, but instead to live.) I have thought about that day often. How many times have I cried for the hurt and pain of fictional characters on the TV, people I will never meet on the evening news--how much more so will I be rent for the people I know and love.

People are meant to be connected to others. There are to be no other more connected people in the world than Christians. I am afraid there is a sect of Christendom that thinks it is better to drive out and away, than to draw near. Isolationism and secularism pervaids how we think. It effects our ability to share ourselves, to confess to one another, to receive love, to receive friendship--and because of all these inabilities there will be a tendency to fail to receive God through Christ.

How sweet the day when the tears of the burdens of this world will no longer need to be shed. But until then, it is ours to bear each others burdens--even when they are not wished to be shared. For to be like Christ who is the fulfillment of the Law, we must do so. It is not to be dismissed that he bore the burden of so many who have rejected him, yet he bore them anyway. How amazingly strange to have the opportunity to be so like Him in every way. What a great blessing of responsibility to be joint heirs with the Messiah.

May our hearts be open,
May our minds be forgiving,
May we love even when those we must love seem unlovable.
May we be open to allowing our burdens to be shared.
May we live in eternity
Because of God,
Through Christ,
with the comfort of the Spirit,

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