“Bind us together, Lord, bind us together with cords that cannot be broken.” This is the opening line of a hymn that has been playing in my head over and over recently. It is a sincere prayer of mine as we seek to do ministry here in Miami, and it was a prayer of mine leading up to a retreat I attended last week.

Just last week, I participated in a Residence in Ministry retreat in Gainesville with my commissioning class. This was the first time we had all been together since Annual Conference this past June when we were all denied provisional status at the clergy session. Since then, all 16 of us have been through incredibly wild emotional, physical and spiritual roller coasters.

As I prepared to meet with them, this song began to play in my heart and spirit. And throughout the week, I watched in amazement how God has been working, and is working, to strengthen the bonds among our class. It was such a gift to be able to hold one another in our personal trials as we each lean upon one another through this collective struggle as well.

It seems a bit coincidental that our scripture this week comes from Galatians 6:1-10 where Paul encourages the people of Galatia to bear one another’s burdens. As I have lived with this passage, I can’t help but reflect on the ways in which I have experienced the people of God journey alongside me over the last few months.

While it has not been easy at all, the people of God have helped in carrying the burden, and in so doing made it easier to keep going. In verse 9 Paul says, “let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.” If I were alone I surely would have been tempted to give up, but the community of faith has continued to strengthen my spirit and given me the wherewithal to keep going.

As we each journey through life, we will face many trials and challenges. But the test is in what we do when those things come our way. Do we try to face them alone? Do we push people away? Do we become over-domineering and controlling? Or do we simply open our hearts and allow ourselves to be sown together in the midst of a community?

This week, the words of this hymn continue to be my prayer. I pray that each of us might be bound together with cords that cannot be broken. My prayer is that when we are having a hard time that we might fall into the love of our community and be brought back to life through Christ who holds us all together.

Let us be bound in love as we come together in worship this Sunday at 11am in person or online! Let us worship our God.

Peace and blessings,

Pastor Kipp