Those in caregiving professions (nurses, clergy, social workers, counselors, and others) often speak of "burden of care." Simply put, it's the personal cost of providing care to someone: giving up time and resources, emotional strain, etc. in order to provide for the needs of another individual. For example, taking care of your bedridden mother at home comes with a high burden of care: money, energy, and love all factor in to making sure she's OK, and there are many levels of responsibility for her. Taking care of your husband who has a cold (even though he's certain he's dying this time) has a much lower burden of care.
As Christians, we bear this so-called burden for all those in our church family. Sometimes this means taking a meal to a family who had a death, sometimes it's calling to check on an absent member, and sometimes -- perhaps more often -- it's more a ministry of presence. We are simply there for and with those who need our support. That not only applies in times of crisis, but also in something as simple as prayer. When someone comes forward during the invitation to pray, come and pray with them. Tell them you love them. Hug their necks and cry with them. Simply be present instead of watching from the pews.
Paul tells us this is how the Church, the Body of Christ, is to work. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." Again, in Galatians 6:2: "Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." To follow Jesus is to care for one another, to pray with one another, to love and to share. Ours is a burden of care for one another in emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental ways. Yet if you choose to bear it, you'll find it a light burden after all -- for God cares for you.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!