Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Burden Bearers...

"They seized one Simon..... And laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus." - Luke 23.26 

Over the last 5 years i was acutely aware of the fact that every decision i made might inadvertently affect others. For example, if i choose to go to Church on a Sunday morning, there was the possibility that i would have seizures and disrupt the whole meeting, and this bothered me. There was the possibility that those around me would be distracted and have to help me instead of fully engaging in the meeting. There was the possibilty that the paramedics would have to be called out and that the commotion would distract people from focussing on the preach and most importantly on God. In fact, i was plagued with the feeling that i was being selfish just by going to Church - that i was going because i wanted to be there and being inconsiderate of how that might affect others. I was constantly faced with such dilemas - do i do something i want to do? or do i hold back, because i know i could be a disruption?.... Weddings, funerals and Birthday events were particularly hard decisions..... there were countless times when i choose not to go to something because i didn't want to risk ruining the event..... although there were alot of times when i did take that risk, because others made it clear to me that they were still happy for me to come... i am grateful to those people. Anyway, i was particularly bothered by how much of a burden i was to my family and closest friends.... who must have helped look after me throughout thousands of seizures and were dragged to and from hospital many times.... 

I remember being particularly encouraged by the above verse in Luke. Simon carried Jesus' cross. It made me realise that sometimes, when we have crosses to carry, other people have to carry them for us too..... and that's ok...... that's just how it is. And that is part of the beauty of relationships - we were made to bear one another's burdens, to share in them, to ease them, to carry one another. Even Jesus Himself had to have Simon carry His cross. Even Jesus. I am strangely grateful for that verse. Strangely moved by it. And strangely encouraged to be prepared to help others carry their burdens more... whatever they may be. 

The truth is, i can't carry my own. My back is not strong enough. But the mysteriously wonderful thing is that somehow, as we reach out to carry each other's burdens, our own burdens seem to become lighter.... maybe it's somehow linked to the verse which says "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and i will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matt 11.28-30 - I used to imagine that this verse meant Jesus completely took away our burdens, we cast them on Him and have rest.... which is partly true, there is a simple call hear to "come" and exchange are burdens for His rest.... but that's not all it says, there is a 2nd half to that verse too... and it says there IS still a yoke and there IS a burden to bear... it's just it's a light one. What is His burden made up of?... This verse suggests it's gentleness and lowliness. What is gentleness and lowliness?... i guess part of what it means to be gentle and lowly is to put others first and humbly serve them out of love.... to bear THEIR burdens, not just our own... and i guess a key part of lowliness and humility is simply trusting all these burdens to God... trusting that ultimately He is in control....which makes every burden easier to bear. And what is the result of such gentleness and lowliness? This verse suggests it is rest. So, really, although our logic would tell us that carrying one another's burdens is a heavy task.... and experience sometimes makes it feel that way... i still reckon it's what we're called to do... and in some gracious way, as we do this, God promises us rest.  I have much still to learn about this. Naturally i shy away from burdens... maybe everyone does.... the irony is that maybe this actually wearies us more than the humble, burden-bearing, gentle path of love.....

"Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6.2

7 comments:

Becky said...

N.B.... On reflection, i'm not sure how right i am in what i've written here.....

Anette Acker said...

Becky, I think you ARE right, and it's very insightful. We do carry each other's burdens. That's the way God intends it. It teaches us both love (to give) and humility (to receive).

Your post also made me reflect on how much I take church for granted. I can see that you learned not to take it for granted while you had seizures.

BTW, I rewrote my response to your comment on my blog because you helped me refine my thoughts. So I appreciate it when you read my posts critically!

Becky said...

Thank you Anette.... Sorry, i've been away for a few days... i looked to see the comment you re-wrote on your blog, but the post is gone now, i guess you deleted it.... i'm sorry, hope you didn't do that on account of what i said.... it was a good post, and despite what i said, on the whole i did agree with you. I like the way you write, i find it challenges me, which is always good.

Anette Acker said...

Becky,

I didn't delete it. I changed the date to May 15 so it wouldn't be the first thing people see when they get on my blog. The reason why I did was because I realized that the literal six days of creation is very important to a lot of Christians. I was concerned that by mentioning it in the context that I did, I was needlessly controversial.

There are some things I'm willing to take a stand on: like the nature of salvation. I'm willing to stand firmly against the "cheap grace" taught today even if it offends people.

But there are other issues where I'm very flexible, and the exact way in which God created the world is one of them. Still, I realized that by bringing up that issue at all I risked alienating sincere believers for whom the issue is a touchstone. And that wasn't worth it to me.

Anette Acker said...

Becky, I got your comment on my blog, and decided to delete them all b/c otherwise it would be confusing to readers.

I did edit the post, because your comment made me realize that I didn't communicate what I wanted to say. What I have now is more what I meant. So thanks for the comment! :)

Becky said...

That's ok. Sorry i wasn't being rude by deleting my comments, it was just cos i didn't think they made as much sense once you had edited the post... and it would have seemed like i was being overly critical... which wasn't what i had intended.

Anette Acker said...

I didn't think you were being rude, so don't worry about that. :)