In 1917, Catholic priest Father Edward Flanagan felt compassion for the orphan boys he had seen in the streets of Omaha, Nebraska. So, he borrowed $90 from a friend and rented a house that eventually became the organization called “Boy’s Town”. Since then, 1,000s of boys have been helped by the orphanage. But in 1918, a young polio victim named Howard Loomis arrived in Boy’s Town, having been abandoned by his mother. Being a polio victim, Howard had to walk with metal braces on his legs, but going up and downstairs was impossible for him to do alone. Not a problem; many of the older and stronger boys would simply carry Howard up and down the stairs when needed. One day, Father Flanagan noticed one of these acts of kindness, and asked the boy who was carrying Howard if he was heavy. The boy, Reuben Granger replied, “He ain’t heavy, Father, he’s m’ brother.” What a perfect illustration of Galatians 6:2, where Paul says, “Bear one another’s burden, and so fulfill the command of Christ.” Young Reuben Granger didn’t view carrying Howard as a burden, because of his love for his friend. But Howard could never have carried the burden of stairs by himself.
The burdens referred to in this verse aren’t those responsibilities we all have. Schoolwork, cooking, jobs, family matters, personal health are all things we are responsible for. The burdens Paul speaks of are those extra burdens that are added and are not our fault nor result of a choice we have made. We have all been feeling extra burdens of late. Especially at this time when normal isn’t normal. Perhaps we feel frustrated, angry, or sad because of the situations we’ve had thrown on us. Personally, I have started feeling a little sad of late. I want to go back to the way things were. One reason I knew it was time for me to retire from teaching was that I just couldn’t stand being in one classroom all day. And now, how ironic! Except I love and enjoy my wife more than the students, and she most certainly smells better than a room of 6th graders! If you are feeling a little off like me, we must remember who bore our burden of sin, who walks with us daily, and hears our prayers and is aware of our situations.
But how does helping bear burdens fulfill the law of Christ? Because He told us to love one another (John 13:34-35). And love means getting involved when things are good and when things are bad. Remember, we are not in this alone. God is with us, and we have our brothers and sisters with us virtually at times. If you feel lonely, call someone. If you need help, ask someone. They may be feeling the same way.
Well, thanks for reading. I hope to see you all in person soon. Stay safe! And as always, it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.