A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8oz. to 20oz.
The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same! The glass and water are the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding on to it again. So it is with the burdens of our life and faith. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the tasks that God has laid out for us; work, relationships, health, aging; you name it! When we take time for Spiritual practice, we are strengthened. When we remember to be spiritually nourished, we can engage in the acts which bring hope to ourselves and to others. Only when we have been reminded why we carry the burden, and renewed by the courage of others, can we return to celebrate the faith, as the GIFT of God it is intended to be.
So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work/life down. Don’t carry it around with you. If you wish, you can pick it up again in the morning. Whatever cares will not seem to fit into one day, or one week, bring them to worship this Sunday and lay them down before God. Whatever load you’re carrying, let it down for a moment if you can. Drink in God’s Grace. Shed them at the altar. Leave them in the pew. Nail them to the Cross, and don’t look back. Relax.
Remember, if you want them back, you can always pick them up again, later. If you simply MUST have them back, you pick them up at the door after you’ve rested a while. Life is short! Don’t carry burdens that you don’t have to this season of Lent practice setting them down!