Thought For The Week – 20th June

Sharing the Load

I’m writing this having just heard what I’m guessing most of us realised was inevitable, that lockdown has been extended for another month. I count myself fortunate that this has no major direct impact on me as I can already go out and meet friends and family, it doesn’t affect work or finances and I’m double-jabbed.

I am all too aware however, that there are many many people both locally and nationally for whom this is terrible news; either because they are at risk of catching Covid, are at risk from the financial consequences or are simply lonely, fed up or at the end of their tether.

I’ve recently been reading a book which has just been published by the daughter of a good friend. It is called “Walking Through Winter” and it’s an honest exploration of grief, suffering, lament and hope. It deals with loss head on but manages to inspire with life and faith at the same time. Her own personal loss was a stillborn child and multiple miscarriages but the message it contains is for everyone who is struggling. Being published early this year it also contains many references to the pandemic and its consequences.

The chapter I’ve just read is called, “Sharing the Load” and starts with a bible quotation I’m sure you will all be familiar with.

For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ… We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us. Romans 12 : 4-6

The key message is that when we are suffering we should reach out to others and particularly our Christian friends for help and support. The chapter covers why we are often reluctant to do this as we fear exposure of our perceived weaknesses making us feel vulnerable or a burden to others.

One part of the chapter that particularly stuck me was a reference from a book by Dame Cicely Saunders one of the founders of our hospice movement. She said, “It is hard to be the wounded Jew, when by nature, you would rather be the Good Samaritan.” She then goes on to highlight that the two are inseparable, it was the helplessness of the one that brought out the best of the other. Our needs can enable our friends to use and develop their giftings and both are blessed.

During our lives there will be times when we will be the “Wounded Jew” and times when we can be the “Good Samaritan,” let’s pray for the courage and grace to be both in their right time.

If anyone would like to know more about the book, the author is Katherine Gantlett and its available on Amazon. I would also be happy to lend my copy to anyone.

Ed Tomlinson

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