Bearing One Another’s Burdens
In Galatians 6, the Apostle Paul urges people to carry their own load. We have a burden or a bundle of human responsibility that is ours to manage. We are responsible for it and as best as we are able, we ought to shoulder it on our own rather than expecting others to be responsible for us.
In the same passage, however, Paul recognizes a wholly other instance when a burden may become more than we can bear. He doesn’t distinguish how this burden came to be — either by our own doing, through life-circumstances or by the hand of another. Instead, he only recognizes this reality and commands the community to handle these people and situations with skill and compassion, rather than by ignoring the problem or standing in judgment. The community is to be an instrument of God’s healing in the life of an individual who is entangled in sin, suffering in hurt or feeling crushed by the weight of a life they no longer feel able to bear alone.
How well-equipped are our communities to adequately and authentically bear one another’s burdens in a way that fulfills the law of Christ and ushers in the deep healing many need? Do we allow room for people to honestly expose their wounds? Are we assembling and mobilizing skilled and mature elders or care teams with the courage and wisdom to accurately assess and diagnose problems and pain, coupled with the wisdom and compassion to handle it gently and appropriately within a larger community?
How ready is your community to respond when a young or old Friend asks you to bear a burden they can no longer carry alone? How might you be called to serve in this way?
Colin Saxton – General Secretary, Friends United Meeting
Bear One Another’s Burdens - By Helene Pollock
John Whitehead: Bearing the Weight of Others – By Steve Martin
A Faithful Responsibility – By Dave Kingrey
No Pearls Before Swine – By William H. Mueller
“In the gospel of John “pearls before swine” is expressed — like almost everything in that gospel — as a dramatic image of Jesus addressing the burden of the outcast.”
Learning to Be a Circle of Care - By Patricia C. Thomas
“When we share the burden of caring for one another, we give witness to God’s all-encompassing compassion as the great Curegiver, and we go forth with the promise that Christ companions us each step of the way.”
Relentless Love - By Sabrina Falls
Christmas, 1847 - By Rob Collard
Other Articles In This Issue:
FUM News and Updates
Carry One Another’s Burdens – Michael Jay
Lifting the Burden – Eden Grace
Ask Tom: How did early Friends take care of each other? – Thomas Hamm
Passages: Quaker Obituaries