Today's Lectionary Text
Mark 6: 30-32After the apostles returned to Jesus, they told him everything they had done and taught. But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest.” They left in a boat for a place where they could be alone.
For a time while we were growing up, our family owned a little cottage on Marion County Lake. We lived in Great Bend then and it was about a two-hour drive from our house. It was not heated, but did have a fireplace and window air conditioner, so most every Friday afternoon from mid-April thru late September, we would load up the car and head to the lake until Saturday evening. We would then be home for worship on Sunday morning— since my dad was the pastor. During the summer, we would also spend a couple of entire weeks there, depending on our other vacation plans.
We didn’t have a TV or even a phone. Our neighbors lived there full-time, so if we needed to use their phone for an emergency or if someone needed to contact us, it was available. We did have a radio. However, we rarely turned it on unless we needed to check the weather situation.
During the day, we spent a lot of time on the lake fishing or waterskiing, we turned over rocks to catch crawdads and we chased frogs and we rode our bikes to the swimming area to swim and play. In the evenings, we spent time together fixing dinner and eating as a family. After dinner, we spent the evenings gathered around the table playing cards (pitch or pinochle were our favorites) or a board game. We laughed a lot! Then, before we went to bed each night, we would take turns reading a chapter or two out of a book together as a family. “The Incredible Journey” and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” are the two I remember the most.
Since my birthday is in June, most of my birthdays during that time were spent at the lake, with a few of my friends joining us for the celebration.
Granted, life was a little bit different than it is today, but there are so many wonderful memories we have as a family spending time at our very simple, little lake cottage.
While that little lake cottage was a special place for our family (immediate and extended) and friends to come together without all the distractions of home, it was also a place for my dad to “unplug” and step away from the busyness of ministry for a few hours to focus on those closest to him and his relationship with God.
Recently, I ran across a quote by Anne Lamott that speaks to this and is a good reminder for us today. “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
Jesus knew this too. While he spent a lot of time with his disciples, other followers and crowds of people, many times in Scripture, we find the words, “Jesus went away ...”
One such time is recorded in Mark 6:30-32. His plan didn’t quite work the way he thought it would. The people figured it out and ran ahead. They beat Jesus and the disciples to the place they were going. What happens next, however, is the feeding of the 5,000, a pretty significant event in Jesus’ ministry. But then, check out what’s next in verses 45-46, “Right away, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and start back across to Bethsaida. But he stayed until he had sent the crowds away. Then he told them goodbye and went up on the side of the mountain to pray.”
While Jesus didn’t have the technology that we have today, I’d say his life and ministry was probably just as hectic and busy and stressful as ours, dare I say, probably more so. But Jesus knew that taking time to “unplug” and spend time away was essential. He modeled it for his disciples, and he modeled it for us. Feeding the 5,000 was obviously important, but so was quiet time away from the busyness of life with those closest to him and with God.
I think maybe today or tomorrow or this weekend, I’m going to be a little more intentional about “unplugging” from technology and the frantic pace of life. Perhaps I’ll read a book or attempt to catch a frog. Maybe I’ll ride my bike or play a board game. I may possibly invite a few friends over to celebrate life. I think I will be a little more intentional about my relationships and spend some unhurried time with God. And I plan to laugh … a lot.
How about it? Will you join me?
--Paige Nelson, director of youth ministries
Wichita East Heights UMC
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