Reflection on Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost: June 18, 2021

Gospel of Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

Let us Pray: Everlasting God we pray that all who come into your church that they may be enabled to renew their relationship with you and may find in you rest, peace, strength, grace, and most of all your abiding presence.  Help us to be outward looking that through our love and understanding we may share our faith and the Gospel of your Son Jesus Christ with those who we love and live amongst. This we pray in your Name. Amen.

Jesus recognized that we need to take some time off occasionally to get caught up on our rest. His disciples had just returned from a long and exhausting ministry trip, so He instructed them to come aside and rest awhile. Jesus cherished personal privacy for times of spiritual renewal and teaching his disciples. Jesus and his disciples needed a break, in order to continue their work, they must take care of themselves because if they did not, they would not be able to help others. We are sent into the world to be the presence of Christ. We go to places where we can get rest and let God heal us and renew us. Then we go back out again for another chance to be God’s presence in the world. Worshipping refreshes us and equips us to do God’s work in our world. After the last 16 months we all need a rest. We need time to have hope and faith to look forward. Sometimes our world doesn’t let us take the time we need, but if we follow what Jesus and his disciples did, we definitely need to go away to a deserted place and rest awhile. We need to hear these words today. We need to slow down and savor them and hear the permission and the inherent command to rest. It will be of no surprise to anyone that our world has become a crazy hectic place. With all the miracles of modern technology we are only a cell-phone’s ring away from whoever might think they need something. So, now that we are amid summer let us follow the recommendations of Jesus. Go to a deserted place, all by yourself. And rest. For a day here and there. Take as much time as you need. Put down the cell phone Set the away message on your voicemail and email, and don’t even think of checking on it. Rest a while, all by yourselves. Yes, in case you missed it, Jesus really means it. So, as you are relaxing, those plans you had made for your life you cannot worry if they are interrupted.  We have all experienced the interruption of those plans by circumstances that changed or the unexpected that happened. Every one of us could probably say about today’s gospel, that is all about me. That describes my life. Today’s gospel describes the tension in which we live. And it is the same tension in which Jesus and his disciples lived. So. in closing listen to the words of Jesus, rest and relax so tomorrow you can go out into the world refreshed and ready to spread the Good News.

Let us Pray: Shepherd God, you call us into a rhythm of work and rest that our lives may be the better for it. So shape our leisure and our labor, that the world will recognize us as Jesus’ disciples and our ministry as what you would have us do. Amen.

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