Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bear the Burden

"Bear each others' burdens 
and fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6: 1

I am still in a painful place everytime I feel the loss of those children and teachers in Newtown, CT.  They are the slaughter of the innocents, Herod's victims from his pursuit of power, writ large in our day.  I go back to Shakespeare--"Speak not what we ought to say.  Speak what we really feel."  Who can find the words to say how we really feel?

For me, I go back to my roots as a Christian and Paul's call to bear each others' burdens...or more literally from the above image, to carry each other. Certainly in Tolkien's Return of the King, it is only by Sam that Frodo completes the vocation by being carried up Mt. Doom to toss the ring in the fire.  I want to suggest that we carry those lost children, that we lift them and their protectors up who perished--that  we can lift up the people in that school system and town--and where?  In our hearts that our broken, we can carry them and not rationalize them away to makes us feel better.  In carrying their loss, the Gospel says, we birth to the new life of Christ in a world that rises to new life. 

The comfort quilt--the living sign of bearing burdens

What is “The Comfort Quilt?”
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, a school in Ohio created a simple, patchwork quilt for children whose parents had been killed in the attacks. A school in New Jersey hung the quilt, and there it stayed–until four years later–when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The Comfort Quilt was sent to a school in Mississippi which had taken in many displaced New Orleans’ students. When the Nickel Mines School shooting occurred, the Comfort Quilt moved again…this time to bring comfort to the Amish families of Nickel Mines. The Comfort Quilt was taken by the Amish to Virginia Tech, after the tragic shootings that took place on April 16, 2007. (from the internet)

The quilt was always taken by people who had been in great need to people in need of great comfort.
The heart and soul of the quilt was a living sign of people who had stood in the depth of the pit of death and walked out of it--through forgiveness, hope, and grace.  That was the way to peace.  Can we envision our lives as that same fabric of comfort--bearing the burdens of others?  There is no higher law than love in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  (I Cor 13)  "the greatest of these is love..." the fabric woven into our souls.  

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