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O ye beneath life’s crushing load …

I am teaching a course at Hartford Seminary this semester that requires me to be there two days a month. I love teaching, and I had a great time with the class this week. Afterward, on the plane home, I reviewed what we had covered and realized that, although it had been my intent to show them that traditional mainline churches actually can thrive today, despite the fact that most do not, I had spent an awful lot of time telling them how hard it is to get them to do so. Even though the attendance at the church I currently serve is five times what it was when I arrived, it has felt like pushing water uphill all the way. I’m still not sure if I left the class more or less hopeful.

Then, after being out of the office for a couple of days, with my own work overwhelming me, I discovered that I had not yet written a Liberating Word for today. Frankly, I’m not feeling very liberated at the moment. In fact, though the season has passed, a phrase from a Christmas carol keeps coming to mind. You might know the one: “O ye beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low; who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow.” I’m not sure who the caroler had in mind, but I’m pretty sure that you, faithful reader, also have many days when it feels like life’s loads are pretty crushing.

I often use this space to challenge us to take on the injustices of the world and to right the wrongs. Liberating Word was initiated 10 years ago as a means to “equip progressive people of faith to be champions for peace and justice.” Yet there are days when our own loads seem more than we can bear, and that’s okay.

It is okay to let the world turn without you for a day or two if you need. In fact, it might be better for everyone if you did. When your burden is so great that to take on something else might bring you harm and can cause you to lash out in ways that aren’t constructive then it’s okay not to take it on today. Perhaps your load will be lighter tomorrow.

For now, weary traveler, the caroler invites YOU, “Oh rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.”

Blessings,

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Rev. Michael Piazza

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