How Much Does Prayer Weigh?
or which is heavier the burdens we give each other or the burdens of Christ?
"They bind heavy burdens and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to touch them, even with their finger." Matthew 23:4
"Follow after righteousness, piety, faith, love, patience and meekeness." 1 Timothy 6:11
"He who is greatest among you, let him be your servant." Matthew 23:11
"They that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall grow wings like an eagle." Isaiah 40:31
This sermon talks about the tension between burdens and expectations of this world, that may seem to be spiritual and the actual trials of the Christian way: the difference between bearing the cross and Christ's proclamation that His yoke is easy and His burden is light....
The sermon uses the scripture readings from the Malankara lectionary.
This sermon given on Sunday, October 18, 2009 by Fr John Brian Paprock
at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.
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The text of the story - how much a prayer weighs read by Fr John Brian at the end of this sermon:
A poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face walked into a grocery store. She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries. She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work. They had 7 children and they needed food.
The grocer scoffed at her andrequested that she leave his store. Visualizing her family needs, she pleaded, "Please, Sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can." But the grocer told her he could not give her credit.
Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would pay for whatever she needed for her family.
Very reluctantly the grocer asked, "do you have a grocery list?"
"Yes, Sir." replied the woman.
"OK", he said, "Put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will GIVE you that amount in groceries."
The woman hesitated a moment. Then with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then carefully laid the piece of paper on the scale, with her head still bowed.
The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed. The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, "I can't believe it!"
The customer just smiled as the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scales did not balance as he continued putting more and more groceries on then until they would hold no more. The grocer stood there in utter disgust, finally grabbed the piece of paper from the scale and looked at it in utter amazement. It was not a grocery list, at all, but a prayer: "Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands."
The grocer gave her the groceries in stunned silence. She thanked him and left the store. The customer that had been watching the entire event handed the grocer a $50 bill and said, "It was worth every penny."
It was sometime later that the grocer discovered the scales were broken, therefore, only God knows how much a prayer weighs.