Come Away

“Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 (New Revised Standard Version)

30The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31He 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. 32And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
53When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

ELCA Book of Faith Devotional Questions:

  1. What scares, confuses, or challenges me in this text? What do I have questions about?

Have you ever had one of those days?  A day where you check something off of your “to do” list, and three more things seem to be added to it?  A day where you thought it was going to be nice and easy, and things took a turn, and you didn’t even have time to eat?  Did you know that the apostles had this experience as well?  It is challenging to me that even the ones closest to Jesus didn’t have things all together.  It reminds me that proximity to Jesus doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing, or an easy life, or easy answers to the suffering of the world.  Instead, it seems that once the eyes of the apostles were opened to the need for God’s power and presence in the world, they couldn’t shut them again.  Do I really want my eyes to be truly opened, if that’s what following Jesus means?

  1. What delights me in this text? What is my favorite part, and why?

I love that Jesus encourages them to “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”  As I write this, I am preparing for our annual week at Confirmation Camp, which is an opportunity for our 5-8 graders to get away to a deserted place, if only for a few days.  I am always amazed at the growth in faith that occurs during this intense experience, and it seems that it has the opportunity to be deep and wide because we are away from the familiar.  I am hoping to help our students to appreciate the power of rest, and stillness, and mindful concentration during this year’s camp, and will keep these words of Jesus close at hand.

  1. What stories or memories does this text stir up in me? How does this story connect to the story of my life?

Also as I write this, I am preparing to lead our group to the National Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas.  We are being sent, from the Tri-Saints, to experience a new city, and new people, and a new sense of what it means to be church, along with 37,000 of our closest Lutheran high school friends.  I am certain that, when we return from this life-altering experience, we will have many stories to tell and experiences to share.  We will be like the apostles, all crowding in on Jesus to shatter about our encounter with God’s mighty grace and power.  I hope that you will take the opportunity to take our youth aside to a deserted place and hear their stories of renewed, refreshed, and rejuvenated faith for yourselves.

  1. What is God up to in this text? What is God calling me to do or to be because of this message?

As I look forward to all of the experiences that are coming up this month, I pray that God will open my eyes to see how God is working in our world, country, and backyard.  I pray for rest and rejuvenation.  I pray for partners on this journey of serving the last, the least, the lost, and the lowly.  How might God be calling you?

In Christ, Pastor Breen Marie Sipes


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