At a women’s retreat a few weeks ago, a friend described an old army duffle bag that belonged to her father. The bag had been around the world several times, had seen many battles, been in many closets and attics through the years, and thus was well worn…It was stained, patched, and carried the unmistakable smell of mildew.
My friend said that she couldn’t remember when she started carrying this bag around with her; she just knew that she had been carrying it a very long time. Occasionally, she set it down, only to notice that after awhile she had picked it up again. Even though it was smelly and gross, it was familiar. She had grown up with it. Some days it was so heavy that she could barely pick it up much less move around with it. Other days it felt pretty light, and she only recognized it’s presence by its smell.
The longer she spoke of the duffle bag, the more I began to see it and smell it too.
Jesus offers us opportunities to give him our smelly duffle bags…“Come to me all who are carrying heavy baggage and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)
Please pray with me: God of New Beginnings, we confess that we don’t know why we keep lugging around our baggage from the past. Perhaps because it’s so familiar, or because it’s too scary to think of life without it or maybe it’s because we need to blame someone or something for the problems we are having today. Help us to be free of everything that weighs us down. Help us to rest and find peace in you. Amen.
Please feel free to share this message with friends and family!
Rev. Amy Lehr Camp is Parish Associate at Memorial Presbyterian Church, St. Augustine FL. She has a M.Div. and a Certificate in Spiritual Formation from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. She has served in pastoral ministry in churches in Virginia and Florida since 2001. Amy enjoys reading, long walks and jogs on the beach, and playing kickball and tag with her 8 year old son, William.