Eighth Sunday after Pentecost July 19, 2015
Rest for the Weary
After a long hard day, toiling away in the wilderness of this modern world, it is a fine and wonderful thing to put our feet up. Perhaps we talk with our family about the day that has just passed, seeking decompression and release from the burdens we have been carrying from sunup to sundown. We seek restoration. We try to reset. It’s not always easy, is it?
When Jesus’ disciples gathered around him and told him of the work they had been doing, this was his response: “Come away . . . by yourselves and rest a while” (Mark 6:33). This was to be their moment to reset, recharge, and reenergize to prepare for the work that tomorrow would certainly hold. But it was not to be.
The crowds followed Jesus and his companions, and when Jesus saw them, he had compassion for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus and the disciples spent the rest of the day and evening teaching, feeding, healing, and providing elements and acts of God’s grace to all the people gathered. Even into the next day, they were healing a new group on the other side of the water.
When we are ready to stop, to lay down our burdens, to put up our feet and retreat from the world for a time, the world often fails to stop with us. There is still hunger, still pain, still suffering, and we Christians are called by God to help when and where we can.
When Jesus says, “Rest a while,” he is not talking only about us. This is not just a call for us to lay down our burdens. It’s also telling us to help others lay down theirs.
Adam Spaugh, pastor, Palmyra Moravian Church, Cinnaminson, New Jersey