Take some time to rest

Published Jul 15, 2017 at 4:00pm

A song from a popular Broadway play begins with the words “summertime and the living is easy...”  Maybe those words are true for students on vacation from school, but certainly not true for the farmers and those who work the land as they are involved with planting, nurturing and harvesting and bringing produce to the markets.

However, for a good many of us summertime does afford a little more time to go on vacation, visit family or friends, take a trip or attend a class reunion.  

In the gospel of Mark we have the reference of Jesus saying to his disciples “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest awhile.” The suggestion is that the disciples of Jesus were a busy lot telling people about Jesus, bringing people to him etc. We can only imagine how hectic their lives may have been especially as the reputation of Jesus spread in those three short years of his public ministry.

I think that Jesus may have realized that the disciples could have become very unhealthy if all they did was this work of ministry and nothing else. So he urged them to rest, to take some time away from the good work that they were doing to get recharged and re-energized. Perhaps he was encouraging them to be more about personal prayer in this time of rest or perhaps it was just that they needed to be more attentive to the care of their selves-body, soul and spirit. 

As  disciples of Jesus in 2017 we too need to find and to make time for rest in our lives. In the good old days we used to hear people speak about Sunday as being the day of rest but I’m afraid that terminology has long passed. But I think the idea is important.

And as some spiritual advisors have said that if Sunday doesn’t work for us as a day of rest due to employment or family obligations how about some other day or time. The idea here is that we can’t always be on the go, We need to reflect on life and be attentive to the deeper needs of our humanity  that we all have if we are to grow into the image and likeness of our God in whom we are created.

I would like to close with this prayer that I call the slow me down prayer: “slow me down Lord, ease the pounding of my mind and heart teach me the art of taking the 5 minute vacation. teach me the meaning of the fable of the hare and the tortoise that the race of life is not always won by the swiftest one, but by the one who abides in your presence and who draws from it new life, strength and courage. amen.

I hope you have a great summer rain or shine!