It was a blessed Sunday. One of the pillar couples of our church was lamenting their final Sunday in a four-decade journey with our church. The worship leader at our church noted their stress level was overflowing.
He shared the sentiment; his family was one month and a few dollars into starting a new business.
Another couple was dealing with a recent disability, complicated by allergic reactions.
Another couple was learning to live separated by several states; another was recently widowed.
Several people were suffering from economic uncertainty, vocational demands, and relational strains.
And I had to preach a sermon.
Blessed were we--the poor, the pained, the puny, the pitiful--because we prayed. Our worship transitioned from singing in seats to interceding in the round. We stormed the stage, circled the hurting, and voiced petitions. A sermon ensued, resolving in the sacred practice of communion.
The rest of the day, I was exhausted. My head ached. My eyes burned. My throat itched. And a merciless critique of my sermon looped through my mind. I couldn't help but attribute these symptoms to the prayer time earlier in the day. It was as if I had absorbed some of the stress/pain/heartbreak/anxiety/suffering of those hurting in our church.
I suspect I was not alone in this. In the family of God, both burdens and blessings are shared.