Come, and rest
December 7, 2009
by Rev. Lucas V. Woodford, Zion Lutheran Church, Mayer

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31

I love this passage. Jesus recognizes the need we have to rest and renew our bodies. He recognizes the importance of proper nourishment.

This passage begs an interesting question – how many of us take time away from it all to get some rest and renewal, for prayer and mediation, to be fed by God’s Word?

Seattle-based writer and documentary producer, John De Graaf says that, on average, most Americans work too much. After conducting a study in 2003 he noted that an “epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine now threatens our health, our families and relationships, our communities and our environment.” In other words, Americans seldom take the time to get away from it all for rest, for renewal and even for proper nourishment.

What’s my point? We all know what it is like to be overworked and burnt out. We know what it is like to be so busy that we miss not only a lunch break, but we miss time with family members. We know what it is like to be tired, hungry, overwhelmed, on-the-go and altogether exhausted by life.

Whether farmer, postman, mechanic, teacher, pastor, builder, or stay-at-home mom, how often do we take time away from it all, for some rest and renewal and to get the spiritual and physical nourishment needed to bear up under this life?

Life is busy. Schedules are chaotic. Challenges abound. But in the midst of it all, we are invited to hear the voice of Jesus calling out: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Being intentional in taking time away is certainly a good thing to do. Our life circumstances may not always be conducive to making this happen, but I would encourage all of us to be reminded of the weekly opportunity that we do have to corporately gather together, like the disciples, to be with Jesus.

When we come together for the divine service of worship, we have the opportunity to hear the voice of Jesus, to be renewed, to be forgiven, and to be fed by the Bread of Life. When we gather together for worship, it is a time to be with Jesus.

Bearing up under the tremendous challenges of this broken and sin-filled world is tough enough on our own. Jesus reminds us that we are not alone. He lived here. He knows what it’s like.

This is why he invites us to go with him and get some rest. This is why he invites us to come to him and be fed. In his own words, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mat 11:28).

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry.” (John 6:35).

Each day and every Sunday we are invited to take him up on his invitation. Amen.