North Highland United Methodist Church
Monday, May 17, 2021
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors


What’s in Your Backpack?
There is a game sometimes played at gatherings of women where odd things are asked for, in hopes that someone can pull that item out of their purse. The same is likely true for backpacks—sometimes the kids come here on Wednesday and the backpacks they are lugging seem almost larger than they are! Some evening mid school year we may play that game—and, of course, be prepared for whatever we may find! We didn’t have backpacks when I went to school—my first day of school picture shows me holding a flat bag with all of my precious just-purchased school supplies. Then in the fourth grade, our grandmother surprised uswith “satchels” or what I called my “book bag”. It made hauling things back and forth much easier. In no time the bag was stuffed full with books, papers, supplies, and a game of Jacks which was the popular playground activity of that year. I would periodically be instructed to clean it out because after a few weeks, there was all manner of things there taking up space. Whether it’s a purse, backpack or other carrying assist, it doesn’t take long before we are hauling around many items which we don’t need, are actually gar-bage, and only take up space or weigh us down with unnecessarily. (Seriously—have you ever lifted some of those purses? )
Consider those things that weigh us down—clutter our spirit and heart—stress us out each time we think about them. Perhaps it’s worry, fear, anger, guilt, disappoint-ments to name a few. Now imagine each one of them as a rock you are lugging around in an imaginary backpack. Every where we go, in everything wedo, there are those rocks — weighing down our spirits, and affecting our responses in the world. In the Letter to the Hebrews which we looked at a recently in our series Other People’s Mail, we read instructions for participating in the “race” of a life lived following in theways of Jesus, as if it was an Olympic-style event. The author writes:
Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let
us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1b
We all carry around “things” that if we would let them go, we would be so much more free, happy, and peaceful. And we can’t kid ourselves—if we are carrying around resentments, or continually rehashing a hurt or misstep from another person, there are also those whose backpacks we have filled with similar rocks and burdens. How much peace might we find, how much better might our relationships be if one by one, we unburdened ourselves of the rocks, boulders, and pebbles we have picked up and carry around. Let’s start a new season with cleaned-out backpacks! Forgive over and over until it no longer affects your heart and mind; let go of old disappointments—you did the best you knew to do at the time; pray; talk to a trust-ed mentor or counselor; believe that you are worth living unburdened! Prayers and blessings as we lighten our personal backpacks, be aware of what burdens we might add to other’s lives, and move into a season of ministry together.
Peace, Pastor Lou.



September 2019