A REFLECTION AND A BENEDICTION FOR THE WEEK
(Friday, September 24th)
Looking back on this week, I am grateful for the many blessings of each day! But, as I lamented with my sister, I often felt as if I had just solved a problem, completed a task, or put a concern to rest, when I would find another one waiting to be addressed. All in all, the week was very good – the burdens were fairly minor – but I noticed that there were very few moments of “freedom,” of feeling free of responsibilities, burdens, or cares.
Do you sometimes feel as if life’s burdens constantly pass before you, just waiting for you to pick them up? The baggage claim carousel at the airport seems to describe this feeling perfectly.
Imagine three conveyors behind the wall at the airport terminal. One is being loaded with responsibilities that we have brought along and will readily claim – baggage that includes such things as our career work, daily tasks, volunteer time, self care, family needs. However, next to that one is a conveyor being loaded with surprises – burdens of health issues, financial losses, appliance breakdowns, ongoing pandemics. Finally, there is a third conveyor that is being filled with the burdens and baggage of others – those we love, those who are hurting, and those of the world. As these come together and pass before us, we can feel overwhelmed and helpless! And just as we try to frantically take on each burden, someone thrusts another bag at us and says, “Here, take this!”
Today’s reflection is inviting me to remember that the baggage on the carousel will keep circling. The baggage we miss or choose to leave on the conveyor will eventually return to us again, giving us time to ask some discerning questions before we choose the next burden to lift and carry…
Is this bag truly mine to pick up, or does it belong to someone else? Am I being responsible or helpful – or am I interfering or enabling?
Could I let this burden remain on the carousel and pick it up the next time it circles by? Is someone further down the line waiting for this one? Could there be another person who is more willing and capable of lifting this bag?
I want to carry some of that heavier burden, but how might I lighten the load? Which things are essential and which are frivolous? What responsibility belongs solely to me, and what is meant to be shared?
Do I find myself rushing ahead to grab a bag, instead of waiting for it to come to me? How does my fear reach for burdens that may never come to pass?
How might I be strengthened or perfected if I choose this particular burden? Is this a time for me to take on a burden that could foster growth and faith?
Am I resting and restoring in the empty spaces between each bag? Should I let this burden pass until I catch my breath?
Will carrying this burden bless and help another? If so, in what ways could I ask God to help me?
Am I keeping one hand free for a “here, take this” moment? Have I safeguarded enough strength and space for any unexpected and urgent baggage?
And in a moment of honest retrospection:
Why am I looking over at the next carousel? Am I afraid to leave empty-handed?
The baggage and burdens of life will continue to come at us. Yes, we are called to carry the burdens of one another; we are called to take up the cross of humble service and love, but we are also invited to the peace that can be found in placing ourselves and our burdens into God’s loving care. We are called to do some heavy lifting, but we are also invited to come away and rest. I realize that we don’t always have time to stand and contemplate each burden that comes our way, but perhaps we can pause for a moment to ask God, “Is this burden mine to take, and if so, will you help me carry it?”
This seems to be my message for the week. Does this touch your soul, too?
May you pause between the spaces
of the burdens passing by
to seek God’s wisdom as you choose
which bags are yours, and why.
May you be mindful of the needs of others
as you select each piece
and trust in One who helps you know
which to carry or release.
May you find surprising hope and joy
among these burdens, too;
claim these as gifts of light and love
from the One who dwells with you.
BIBLE PASSAGES TO BLESS YOUR WEEK:
Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.
(Psalm 55:22 NRSV)
Do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NRSV)
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NRSV)
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. (Galatians 6:2, 9-10 NRSV)
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/