The Rev. Twila Smith
Grace & Mediator, Allentown 

“May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
– Romans 15:5-6

Amid the headlines of the day, I need your steadfastness, O God. In the work of your church, on this mission to which you send us again this morning, I need your encouragement.

We who are strong are to bear the weakness of others. The problem with that, St. Paul, is that I often misread your guidance and assume I am supposed to be strong enough to bear whatever it is I encounter on this way. Then I crash. “We,” you say. Yes, we.

Daily exercises to strengthen my legs for walking include lots of weight-bearing toe and heel raises, and stretching various muscles and tendons. Together, this strengthens my capacity. Despite considerable work on balance, though, I am unable to do most of these for very long without reaching out for support. Parts of me fatigue faster than others. Lately I’ve been standing on one foot on a precarious surface; after passing a weighted ball overhead a few times, I inevitably fall.

In this Body in which we walk Christ’s Way, we are asked to bear the burdens of the weak, to offer support to those who need our help. Harmony in this body invites us to daily stretching and strengthening together – learning to stand strong for others as we are able and reaching out for the support we need.

When the surface beneath our feet feels unsteady, remind us, dear Lord, of the firm foundation you laid for us, the path that does not waiver. Strengthen us with your strength, to stand where we are needed most. And when you ask us to walk, help us see and reach out for the supports that are on every side, so that we may glorify you together.