READINGOld Testament: Genesis 46:1-7, 28-34
Psalms: Psalms 42, 43, 85, 86
New Testament: 1 Corinthians 9:1-15
Gospel: Mark 6:30-46
Evening Psalms: 85,86
DEVOTIONAL“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….Immediately he made his disciples…go on ahead to the other side…while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.” Mark 6:30-32; 45-46)
Advent and Lent are church seasons during which we are encouraged to take time to prepare and reflect on the birth, life, and death of Jesus and our relationship with Him. I start each of these seasons with great intentions to do just that. But, I seldom keep it up for the entire season or make it a habit to be continued throughout the year.
Christmas, Holy Week and Easter are important remembrances for me. But, every year, they seem to sneak up on me, and the time before these big days feels shorter and busier. There is so much to do to get ready for church services and to prepare for celebrating with family and friends. There are everyday tasks like caring for pets, housework, meal preparation, etc. that need to get done. Enjoyable events and other interests that help me relax -- needlework, computer games, singing – also take up my time. I start feeling frenzied and tired; and making time to reflect gets pushed out of the way very easily.
In the introduction to this well-known story of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus and the disciples have been very busy and are tired. Jesus plans for them to go to a remote place to rest and recharge. But the crowds have a different plan and follow them. They don’t get to take that rest but end up teaching and preaching. After the preaching and meal are finished, Jesus dismisses the people and, again, sends the disciples off to rest while he climbs a mountain to pray.
Rest, prayer, and reflection are essential to keep us healthy - physically, mentally and spiritually. Jesus recognized the importance of this and encouraged his disciples to rest and recharge. I need to remember this and give it a place of importance in my life - along with everything else that I allow to get in the way.