March 2014

\"I have made you and will bear the burden and bring you to safety\"
[Isaiah 46.4 NE]
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Among God\'s people in exile in Babylon during the 6th century BC there was one un-named poet/prophet who had not lost hope. Inspired by he aring God\'s voice loud and clear, he conveyed the divine messages of restoration that now form chapters 40 to 55 of the book of Isaiah. The Babylonians laboriously made elaborate idols for the people to worship. The prophet pours withering scorn upon them, just as another poet did in Psalm 115. They are so powerless, he notes, that they have to be carried around by animals (Isaiah 46.1-2).

Bearing that in mind, the prophet interprets God\'s intentions. God who is the Creator will never abandon that which he made and loves. Even though he grieves over the faults and weaknesses of his wayward children, as a loving parent he/she will bear the burden of their wrongdoings and in good time he will carry them to safety.

This message of hope is graphically endorsed in the Christian narrative. The burden of the world\'s sinfulness is borne on the Cross by Jesus. Traditi onal Christian devotion sings: O Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world. The Lamb who was sacrificed is also the good shepherd who will seek an d save the straying sheep and carry them back to a place of safety (John 10.11).

This Saying is apt, not just for ourselves, but a s a means of intercession for those lost in sinfulness. And of course it speaks volumes for anyone who is currently burdened by pain or suffering.

As we carry this Saying about with us in our daily business, we shall also do well to recall the teaching of Saint Paul in Galatians 6.2: Bear one another\'s burdens. A Cistercian monk in the 12th century poses the question in one of his sermons: Why do we pay so little heed to seeking out opportunities to save each other, so that the greater we see the other\'s need to be, the more we come to each other\'s help and bear, each of us, his brother\'s burdens? This is what the blessed apos┬Čtle counselled ... for that indeed is the law of Christ (Isaac of Stella). The more we take note of th at, the less of a burden we shall be to God.