Wooden cross in the Good Shepherd Chapel



The Weight of the World

Lent 2018

He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

Psalm 91:11–12

Maybe it’s just me, but when someone offers up the words “love bears all things,” it can feel like “grin and bear it” dressed up in its Sunday best. The verse is often used as a gesture of consolation, but when someone is dealing with a seemingly unbearable situation they can easily hear the words as, “if you’re really a good Christian you’ll be able to tolerate or endure this.” In fact, I was sure that if I looked up the verb bear in the dictionary, that tolerate or endure would be the top definitions. Not even close. The meanings to carry or support are considered primary.

Once again we are reminded that grace does all the work. “Love bears all things” means that Jesus bears all things on our behalf. He carries us. He commands his angels to lift us up and over the unbearable “stones.” This is how the psalmist understood God’s bearing. He invites us to change the station in our self-critical brains so that notion of bearing all things now sparks the same joyful synapses as three kings who come “bearing gifts” from afar.

To bear as to carry reminds us, too, that love is a vehicle of transmission. Love transports us from point A to point B. Love enfleshed moves us from one hard, stuck place to a renewed place of grace and freedom. Without love, there is no movement.

As we contemplate Jesus’ journey to the cross for us, God’s word releases us from the stresses that come from thinking we bear our burdens and bear them alone. He holds us in the heart of his transforming love.

Heather Choate Davis, MA '13
L.A. based writer, speaker, theologian, and bridge builder

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