Faith: Life doesn’t stop; neither does the Lord
Jesus takes a vacation in Mark 6:30-34. Or at least he tries to. His vacations go like my vacations sometimes do. Everything that can goes wrong does.
The disciples have just returned from their first mission. They are full of excitement and eager to tell Jesus all about it. You know the moment. You’ve been there too. You’ve gotten a good grade in school or a big promotion at work, or you’ve learned that you’re going to be a grandma or great grandpa. Whatever the good news is, you’re just bursting to share. Everyone has to know about it.
However, there is also a frenetic energy in you. You know you are excited, but there is so much to do. This new and exciting thing comes with so much more responsibility. You have to get this and this and this and this and this and this done before you can move on. Just watching you makes everyone around you tired. You’re tired too but you don’t realize it. You’re just so full of excitement that it hasn’t hit you yet.
This is where the disciples are when they return from their first mission. They are worn out but excited too. They can’t see it, but Jesus can. So, he says something so incredibly simple: “Come by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while.”
Then, people interrupt and expect him to do ministry.
“Many people saw them leaving and recognized them, so they ran ahead from all the cities and arrived before them. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:33-34, CEB)”
Yep, it’s not exactly as planned.
Jesus, however, takes a big breath and responds to the needs around them. He divides up the lunch between the extra guests… a lot of extra guests. He heals several people. He walks on water out to the frightened, whiny disciples. He calms the storm. This week changes everything.
Jesus responds with love and patience. That’s something we don’t always do. Something we don’t always want to do.
It is a good reminder to us that God’s love is always overflowing, always present even when we don’t always think we deserve it. We are given grace when we are the least patient and least loving. We are encouraged when we are scared. We are healed when we are overwhelmed. Remember that even if it seems like the sign on heaven’s door says out to lunch, God is still answering your deepest needs.
Rev. Deana Armstrong is the pastor of the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Craig, Colorado.
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