Galatians 6:2 "Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." NRSV
Our church body has experienced many struggles and each of us carries our own burdens. It would be the exception to find one among us who is not bearing a heavy load for ourselves or someone close to us. It is interesting to find this scripture, then about reaching out to carry the burdens of those around us, and amazing that Paul says that this act of all things fulfills the very law of Christ.
What could he mean? What is the Law of Christ? Did Christ not come to set us free? Yes, he did set us free from the law of sin and death, but gave us in it's place the law of love. In his teaching, Christ told his followers that all of the law and prophets, all the commands leading up to his coming were wrapped up in two great commands:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
In Luke 10, Jesus has a discussion with an expert in the law who wanted to know what must be done to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him to summarize the law and prophets and the teacher came up with the above statement, but wanted to know who his neighbor was. Jesus responded with the parable of the good Samaritan.
As we read through the story Jesus told, we see that the things he commends are Mercy and Compassion. It did not matter who the Samaritan was, he cared about the wounded man and made a personal sacrifice to make sure his needs were met. (The two days wages today would be in the neighborhood of $150-$500!) His care and compassion set the standard for us to follow if we are to love our neighbor in the way Christ commands.
Bear one another's burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
The burdens of your neighbor may be too heavy for you to carry on your own, while others may require you to make a personal sacrifice to fulfill. Either way the source of our compassion and action must be our relationship with God through Christ. There are needs that only he can meet and we must carry those burdens first and foremost to him in Prayer. Then we will receive guidance in what we must do to care for those in our community.
(Following the message we spent some time sharing and praying for those around us to put into practice the habit of carrying one another's burdens to the Lord in prayer.)