On October 6, we closed out our morning worship holding hands and singing “Bless Be the Tie,” The message of that beautiful song has been on my mind and especially the third stanza:
We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
As we were driving home from church this past Sunday, we were reminded that most of the people sitting in our pews are experiencing woes and burdens, aches and pains, anxiety and fears mixed in with some joy and laughter. That also goes for the man in the pulpit and his wife. It comes with the territory when you are a church family made up of 90% seniors.
We often define the church as a “fellowship of believers,” “the family of God,” “the body of Christ,” or “a community of faith”. Elton Trueblood, noted Quaker Theologian and Author called the church, “the company of the committed”. In whatever terms we tend to identify the church, it is without a doubt the most effective body on earth in sharing mutual woes and burdens.
In all of the churches in which I have been associated over my sixty years of ministry in Brazil, Paraguay, Spain, South Africa and the United States the tie that binds our hearts together is faith in Jesus Christ and the mutual love, care and encouragement that church members give one another. Sit in on the prayer meeting or Sunday School class or small group of any church and you will experience the sharing of prayer concerns. No organization I know does it better.
I heard the story of a man who passed by three little boys sitting on a street curb crying. He was moved by their tears and stopped to see if he could be of any help. “What’s wrong,” he asked. “Oh, responded one of the boys, “We all have a pain in Billy’s stomach.” I’m thankful that my church family knows how to share mutual woes and burdens. It lifts my spirit to know that my fellow believers deeply care. Mutual love, caring, sharing and praying is just one of many reasons to be in the family of God – the company of the committed.
In His Love,