Friday 31 August 2012

Bible Book:

"Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ." (v. 2)

Galatians 6:1-10 Friday 31 August 2012


As a child I remember a group of us, 20 or more, standingtogether in a close circle, all facing to our left. When we were astight together as possible, we slowly had to sit down so that eachperson was sitting on another person's knees. Sometimes it workedand sometimes we ended up collapsing in a heap.

This always comes to mind when I read today's passage, about"bearing one another's burdens" (v. 2). Paul is giving advice abouthow to live in community and fellowship with one another: this isparticular pertinent as earlier in the letter he has stressed thatall are one in Christ (Galatians 3:26-29).

But Paul seems to contradict himself a few sentences later whenhe writes in verse 5, "For all must carry their own loads". Howeverthis is what living in community is all about - being caring andprepared to offer help when needed, whilst recognising that we allneed to take responsibility for our own actions, and not abuseother people's good will.

In an interview with the Guardian in July 2011, the Archbishop ofCanterbury Rowan Williams spoke his mid-20s: "I was an angst-riddenyoung man, with a lot of worries about whether I was doing enoughsuffering and whether I was compassionate enough. But the late,great Mother Mary Clare said to me, 'You don't have to suffer forthe sins of the world, darling. It's been done.'"

In our zeal to follow Christ, there is a danger that we can tryto bear everyone's burdens: this can only cause exhaustion andburnout. We have a responsibility to ourselves as well as toothers. It is about living in community with one another, andeveryone in the community drawing strength from that.

To Ponder

  • What burdens do you help bear for others? And what burdens ofyour own do you share with others?
  • How can/do you care for yourself whilst bearing othersburdens?
  • "If anyone is detected in a transgression, you who havereceived the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit ofgentleness" (v. 1). How do you feel about giving and receivingcriticism?

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