Come and Rest
The Gospel Reading: Mark 6.30-32
“30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
“31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
“32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.”
A Sense of being Noticed and, in some Simple Way, Cared for
Many years ago, I was asked to be the chaplain and speaker on a retreat for the girls of Queen’s School, Chester. It was very refined, and a bit posh. The girls provided hospitality and served the staff. I can remember, at the end of one session, tea had been served, and I was now standing chatting with a saucer and empty cup in my hand. A sixth form girl came to me and simply asked: “Would you like me to take that from you?” This sounds like nothing, and yet it contained a sense of being noticed and, in some simple way, cared for. This is the aspect of Jesus that Mark outlines in these three verses – He has been watching you, and He wants to care for you; to draw you away into a place of rest.
Meeting with Jesus in a Place of Rest
Richard Wurmbrand, (1909-2001), was a Romanian Jew and grew up to be a very successful businessman. He married Sabina Oster, and, in his own words, lived a life of self-indulgence, and luxury.
In 1938, he developed tuberculosis, and his doctor advised him to seek fresh air. Richard and Sabina moved to a remote village in the Romanian mountains. Here an old German carpenter called Christian Wolfkes, and his wife, showed them love. The old man brought them food and also gave Wurmbrand a New Testament, which he hesitantly began to read.
Wurmbrand said by the time he had recovered; he knew the Man in the book better than the man who brought him food.
In this place of quiet and rest, these two Jews had come face-to-face with Jesus, and realised that He was the Messiah. In the early 1940s, Richard Wurmbrand was ordained a priest in the Church of England.
Sabbath, the Foretaste of Rest
Every Friday as the sun goes down, the two candles are lit, and the Sabbath rest begins. For 3000 years, this has been the most precious time of the week for Jewish families. Yet, Jews know that the weekly Sabbath is only a foretaste of the true Rest that the Messiah will bring with Him. We too can let the sun set on all that’s gone before in our lives, and light a new candle to welcome in the Messiah, Jesus.
Seeing Jesus in a New Way
An old man had lived in the Faroe Islands (between Scotland and Iceland) all his life, and never ventured out. His son was living in Copenhagen, Denmark, and wrote to his father that he had paid for his passage to Denmark on a luxury ferry. The old man was so excited he would see his son. He boarded the ship, and had a beautiful cabin. Each meal time, he went onto the deck, and from his sack took out a meal of dried fish and bread – a traditional meal in the Faroes Islands, that he had been brought up on.
His son met him at the quayside, and they hugged. He asked his father about the journey and the ship, and the food. The old man spoke of the dried fish and bread. At that, the son asked:“ What about the incredible smorgasbord laid out for every meal? It was all part of your ticket.” (The smorgasbord is a huge spread of wonderful Scandinavian foods) The father had to admit that he had not realised that was part of the journey.
Sometimes people say: “I’ve been brought up in church and attended all my life, but I’d never heard of this kind of “enthusiastic” Christianity and these amazing things about Jesus – The wonderful smorgasbord is all part of the ticket, and our incredible journey.
- Jesus, I am tired. My mind is frazzled, my hands are full, and my emotions are reeling with all the things I have to do. Help me to come to you in the middle of the overwhelm.
- Remind me of your ever-present help in my times of need.
- Show me how to rest in You.
- Reveal to me both the beauty in the work and in the rest.
- Calm my anxious thoughts and encourage my heart with Your nearness. Instruct me in your ways.
- Bring productivity and contentment out of the peace and comfort I find.
- Settle me in Your truth and in Your love. Amen.
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith