Rushing toward rest and relaxation

I’m not much good at resting. Never have been and probably never will be. I’m more a Martha than a Mary, regardless how many times I hear Jesus praise my contemplative sister(s) for choosing the better part. Stillness is not my strong point — even when vacationing, as I am doing this week.

If the rushed and tired love company, I know where to look for fellow travelers. The folks with whom I regularly rub shoulders — ministry leaders and board members — are all as busy or busier than me with the good work to which God has called them. Like the disciples in Mark 6, they’re “coming and going, and have no leisure.”

To all who are of my tribe — the frenzied and weary ones — I commend the following  Luther Seminary’s God Pause devotional.  It’s based on Mark 6: 30-34 and 53-56.

“Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” These are the words of Jesus to his disciples in the reading from Mark for today. It reminds me of the importance of self-care and Sabbath living for all of us as we strive to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Somebody once told me that the best advice he ever heard was from a flight attendant. The advice, of course, is, “Put on your own oxygen mask before helping your neighbor.” What wisdom lies in those few words! Jesus was calling the disciples back to him, to a place of peace and rest, where they could find wholeness and hope so that they could share that hope and wholeness with the world they were serving. How are you doing at caring for yourself, at coming back to Jesus for a while to be recharged? Remember, breathe in first before exerting all you have!

God of rest and peace, grant us the courage to step away for a while and be refilled by your presence in our own lives so that we can love and serve as you have called us to do. Amen.

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