July 26, 2020 - Pastor Message08/09/2020
“The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while’” (Mark 6:3031).
In our part of the world, we normally associate summer with vacation, a time to go away and rest a while from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. This year, however, has thrown a monkey wrench into those plans. With many places still locked down because of COVID19, and with many people still afraid to go anywhere anyway, summer vacation seems to be off the table. That doesn’t take away our need for it, though.
Jesus understood the need to take a break every once in a while, and so he invited his disciples to go away by themselves and rest. The crowds followed them and made their efforts at taking a break difficult, but the need was still there. We need such breaks too. We might not think so this year as we are still slowly emerging from a three-month hibernation during the COVID19 shutdown, but did we really rest and renew ourselves during that time?
If we’re honest, I think most of us would have to admit that, even if we didn’t go out, we didn’t get much rest, especially families with children. I know that, in many ways, I was actually busier during the shutdown than I would have been normally, and I don’t have children. Not only that, but the anxiety and uncertainty of those weeks made true rest and relaxation all but impossible. As a society, we’ve been living on the edge for months, which I think contributes to the unrest we’ve seen recently. We need to release all of that pent up stress and anxiety. We need to go away and rest for a while. We need a vacation.
I’m not a doctor, but I am giving all of us a spiritual prescription to take some time in what remains of summer to get out of the house, go somewhere by yourselves, and do nothing but rest and relax. Worried about social distancing? Fine, go somewhere that you know will not have other people close by hike a nature trail, get on a boat and go out on a lake or down a river, go for a long drive by yourself, whatever the point is, go away and rest. Whatever and wherever you find relaxing, go and do it. Don’t put it off, and don’t make excuses. Just go and do it. Even if it’s only for a day or two, it’s what we all need right now. And don’t think you don’t need it. Even Jesus needed a vacation sometimes, and if the Son of God needed it, so do we. So let’s follow Jesus’ example. Take some time this summer to relax and be recreated so that we can respond to Jesus’s call to get back to work in the fall, whatever work he calls to do.
Fr. Marc Stockton