Saturday 30 January 2016

Bible Book:

“Come away to a deserted place.” (v. 30)

Mark 6:30-34 Saturday 30 January 2016

Psalm: Psalm 24


Jesus is constantly active and on the move in Mark's Gospel.'Kai euthus' ('and immediately' in Greek) is a phrase which beginsmany of its stories and sentences.

But here is a change of gear. The apostles have returned torecount their first missionary journeys. And Jesus' response is topropose retreat, solitude and rest.

There's a natural wisdom in a balance between activity and rest,doing and 'being'. In a Western context, there's often adisproportionate pull towards activity and a life of doing; eveninto a kind of competitive busy-ness. I can assess my worth andsuccess by how much I've done or achieved in a day … or my life sofar.

The disciples have been active in the work of the gospel. Theyare still surrounded by people coming and going, and need rest.Jesus took is taking them to a quieter, less busy environment. Sowhat is to be made of his sudden abandonment of the planned rest,in response to the pursuing crowd, "like sheep without a shepherd"(v. 34)?

The decision to seek rest and quiet still points to the need fora proper balance, for the recognition of weariness, and to theimportance of rest. But while balance remains the ideal, it may notalways be available in the short term. Sheep may not survivewithout shepherds: the stakes can be high in a world of immenseneed.

'Compassion' has its roots in the Greek word for guts: it's'feeling it in your gut', a visceral feeling. In the difficultbusiness of judging the balance between activity and rest, Jesuserrs on the side of compassion.

To Ponder

  • How is the balance of activity and rest, busy-ness and quiet,in your own life and discipleship?
  • How do you understand the word 'compassion'? What other word orphrase might express its meaning for you?
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