I had to come up with a devotion for the women’s bible study I attend on Fridays. The thought terrified me especially because I come late to bible study and miss the devotion almost every week so many times I don’t know what was said or how it’s done. I was reviewing what the past week’s homework talked about (we are doing a Beth Moore study called The Psalms of Ascent) trying to come up with something fitting. Admittedly, writing is not one of my favorite things. But much like my blog posts there is something that starts to take shape until I feel like my insides are bursting and the words need to come out. So here’s the text of my devotion. I could not read it without crying. These women have been my help when I thought I could no longer walk the road. I truly could not have made it through the last 8 months without them all.
I have really enjoyed this bible study of the Psalms of Ascent. It was a good picture for me to think of life as a pilgrimage, trying to stick to the path on our way to Jesus. To think of life as a journey that will be over all too soon so make the most of it. I kept thinking of people back then traveling to the feasts. I pictured them walking along a dirt road. They did not travel alone, that would make them vulnerable. I could imagine someone strapped down with everything they’d need on the trip, walking down the road, side by side with family, friends, and strangers. I could picture that person suddenly tripping, stumbling along the path and others rushing over to hold him up lest he fall and his belongings crash down around him. Once everyone was steady, they’d continue on their pilgrimage, the destination always in mind.
- Carry each other
Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
This study has given me a sense of clarity on what the purpose of life is. We are going through this earthly life and we will reach our destination at the end. But what are you doing on your journey between now and then? We are all on the road, carrying our belongings, making our pilgrimage. Sometimes the weight of our load is too much for us to bear. Sometimes we take a wrong turn. When the road gets hard are you going to give up? When you get lost will you find your way back? What are you going to do when you stumble and fall? And when it’s your neighbor, are you going to help them or sit idly by and watch them fall?
Part of the US Soldier’s creed reads:
“I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.”
Our family tried to go it alone for 10 years. I can tell you that is a very lonely road travelling by yourself, no one to help you. With no one to keep you focused on the destination, you get bogged down in the things that don’t matter. Quoting a website I found called the Journey: “You cannot do community alone. The Christian life is to be lived together. We need each other. There is no such thing as a Christian flying solo.” And another website called Hip Hop Devotions: “If you’re not a member of a church, then find one, especially one where there are people you can fellowship with; it’ll be one of the best moves you can make. Next to that, find other believers that you can build and fellowship with; you should be able to have them push you, and you should also be pushing them towards holiness. God wants us to grow together as a single body, but that is impossible if we continue to live and walk as if we’re in this all alone.”
I think that is true even of some people who go to church – they continue to live and walk as if they’re in this all alone. We need to lean on each other, encourage each other, place the mission first, never accept defeat, never quit and never leave a fallen comrade. I like to think of church like an AA meeting, except we’re there because we all sin. If we would just stand up, say our names and admit we’re not perfect, others can rush to our aid, pick us back up, and set us back on the right path. The more we go to the meetings, the less likely we are to fall off the wagon.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Dear God, thank you for St. Matthew’s Church, for the community here and specifically this women’s bible study. Stand with us as we stand shoulder to shoulder, allowing no opposition to come between us. May we care enough to be involved in the lives of others, helping each other back on our feet as we continue our pilgrimage. Amen.