Mon Mar 11-Burdens to Blessings

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Galatians 6:1-2 (CEB)

Brothers and sisters, if a person is caught doing something wrong, you who are spiritual should restore someone like this with a spirit of gentleness. Watch out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted too. Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. 


It was an unseasonably cold winter and the local shelters filled up early due to a Code Blue alert. Code Blue is the term New Jersey uses to designate severe cold or storm events that present a danger to people living on the streets. But there were never enough overflow beds available, particularly for homeless men, in the city where our church was located. Many of these men went to our Pastor for help and they often sought shelter from the rain under the church side entrance.

Our church and the surrounding community struggled with how to respond to this need, as it was clearly a problem that would require the local community as well as other faith communities to get involved. But people were divided as to whether to offer any help, as it might “attract more homeless” to the city, others felt that it was our duty as people of faith to help.

People began to pray for discernment and guidance, many lamented that as time passed, the men still suffered. A core group of people decided to take action and approached local leaders. After many meetings, long hours of debate and
overcoming the red tape of local ordinances, the Interfaith Rotating Shelter was born. Local churches, a synagogue and a mosque joined together and offered their buildings, and a volunteer staff, to host a temporary shelter each week during the winter months. Out of the prayers of lament came a call to action that resulted in a solution that united the ecumenical and local communities to end suffering. God turned our community lament and burden into blessing.

by Jeneene Reduker

For Pondering and Prayer

When we as a community offer up prayers of lament to God to solve injustice, God will convict our hearts and call us to action to work together towards a solution. It’s always easier to look away from injustice than to respond. But when we follow Jesus, the Spirit enables us to act with a spirit of gentleness. Rather than judge someone for their current situation, we carry each other’s burdens, because we know that we aren’t any different in the eyes of God, we are all
loved and forgiven. God’s grace is poured out on all of us through Jesus. We are free to love and serve others, as a faith community, and so fulfill the law of Christ, which is to love God and love others as we love ourselves.

Grieving and lamenting to God about injustice as a community is an important first step. Learning to listen and discern where God is leading comes next as God responds to our prayers. But when God calls us to action as a community of faith, we become God’s agents of change showing God’s love to others.

What is God calling your community of faith to lament, discern and respond to in love, in your community and the world?

Prayer: Holy and loving God, help us not to look away from suffering and injustice, but call us to action as a community of faith that reaches out in love to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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