Listening to the Heart…Responding with Colors from the Master’s Palette
I enjoyed seeing the third part of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ out on video. The movie screen, of course, is ‘larger than life’ and so dramatic, but video affords me the opportunity to turn on the closed captioning and see the words of everything being spoken. Some people are irritated by extra words on the screen, but I have grown accustomed to it, and even like the added nuances it brings out. It was funny seeing the words “fat hobbit!” uttered under the breath of the schizophrenic Gollum.
If you are familiar with this classic tale (and saw the movie) you will recall near the end when Frodo, weak and weary from the journey, collapses near the top of the mountain of Mordor, where he must return the ring. His faithful and also weary friend, Samwise Gamgee, reaches deep within himself and proclaims, “I may not be able to carry it (the ring), but I can carry you!” And with a final push of adrenaline Sam scoops up the mud-stained weak body of Frodo and charges up the stony mountainside. It was a great visual illustration of the admonition of Scripture to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2).
Like Sam, sometimes we can’t exactly “carry the ring.” That is, our hearts may go out to someone who is suffering, but we may not relate to their pain. Maybe we just haven’t “been there” before, or we just don’t quite understand. But also, like Sam, no matter what ‘the ring’ represents, we can scoop up our brother or sister and help carry them through a difficult time. The bearing doesn’t relate so much in the specific nature of the burden, but more in the willingness to care and be a support.
Like Job’s friends, who were a strong silent support for seven days (until they started speaking); intentional presence can often speak more eloquently than words.
Bearing one another’s burdens sometimes simply means, “ I care that you hurt. I don’t really need to know why, unless you feel like telling me. But either way, I notice, I care, and I’m here.”
Ultimately, we are upheld by our Great High Priest, Jesus, who does intimately understand every type of human suffering, because He experienced it. With Christ, we are “carried up the mountain” and never alone.