Bearing and Sharing Our Burdens

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

St. Paul was very good at telling people off! In writing to the Church in Galatia he told the Christian community there: “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

Easily said – but more difficult to put into practice. In an ideal world, bearing one another’s burdens would no doubt provide most of the support we could ever have need for. But this isn’t an ideal world, and there are problems that we either feel unable to share, or that no one can help with, or that people simply do not want to know about.

I imagine we’ve all been in situations when we’ve felt utterly overwhelmed by a problem and haven’t known who to turn to – hence the existence of organisations like the Samaritans.

During these recent months, however, I’m sure that, like me, you will have been greatly encouraged to learn of the many ways in which burdens have been eased for lots of people through the simple, honest goodwill of others. Alnwick, like many communities was quick to organise a whole band of volunteers to attempt to ensure that those who were housebound or vulnerable were supported in all kinds of ways: help with shopping, the delivery of essential medicines and so on.

Even as some restrictions begin to be lifted, of course, we’re not at the end of the road and the need, for those who can, to help those who still require support continues.

Thankfully, we do not depend merely on human support for assistance: we are able to share our cares and burdens with God. Do that and, though the problems will not magically disappear, we may well find a new perspective on them; an inner peace whatever our trouble – rest for our souls.

So I want to urge you to take some extra time to share your burdens and worries with God and pray too for all who are facing difficulties and problems to which they can see no solution. Remember those who are wrestling with inner fears and phobias; those racked by anxieties for themselves and for loved ones; those who have been prevented from spending precious time with friends and loved ones; those troubled about money, health, work or relationships – in short, for all who carry burdens from which they can find no rest.

Pray that God will speak to you, and to all who follow his way, with his still, small voice and grant the peace and quiet confidence that only he can bring.

But to hear that still, small voice and appreciate the peace which comes from God through Christ, we must listen very carefully and, in our prayers, give him the opportunity and the space to speak to us and assure us of his presence.

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still small voice of calm!
(John Greenleaf Whittier)

With every blessing,

Paul.

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