Mark 6

Sermon Mark 6

Jess Olson

River of Hope

Good morning. I am grateful to have the chance to worship with you again today… I’ve only had the chance to worship with River of Hope once before…at Pastor Laura’s wedding…what a service of celebration that was. This community is gifted at celebration and hospitality…and joy. These are gifts that sustain us all through all times and all places – hospitality, celebration and joy – gifts that we give and receive in community. Gifts that River of Hope has in abundance… these are gifts we can call upon when times don’t feel so easy and breezy.

Our gospel today speaks of such a time for Jesus and his disciples. The story begins with the disciples giving report to Jesus of all they had done and taught and he says, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”  In classic Mark fashion, we are not given many adjectives – it’s simple reporting language. The disciples did this and Jesus responded.

However – with Jesus response being – Come away and rest. I imagine the telling of all the disciples did and taught was a bit more of an overwhelming gushing forth of their exhaustion from all that they had done over the previous weeks and months. The endless walking and talking, teaching and re-teaching…and walking and explaining and proclaiming…and walking and sleeping in strange beds…

You can substitute your own routine in here…I know you can. We all have our draining patterns of life that can get the better of us.  Even those of us doing the work of Jesus….in the days of Jesus. These men and women who had given up their lives to teach and preach for Jesus were tired. So Jesus says – let’s go rest up.

And they do. The gospel of Mark moves fast – it’s short and sometimes big swaths of time pass between the period and the beginning of the next sentence. I feel like this piece of text moves so quickly that it may miss the point. When reading, y’all here at River of Hope have the benefit of a natural pause between readers to give you a sense of time passing.  But I want to point out that … Jesus does rest and he takes his hard working disciples to do the same

Now the lectionary here…you will notice we read Mark 6 30-34 and then verses 53-56. It skips a bunch of stuff. Much of that stuff you will read next week, the feeding of the 5000 and walking on water. Big miracles. Big stuff that would detract from the message of this week, but I think we …the universal church we also skip a verse that is critical to the message

But here are the verses I think that needs to be added back, vs 45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side of Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up the mountain and prayed.”

Jesus takes his own break. He leaves…knowing that there are still people who need him. He follows his own advice, goes to a deserted place…and he rests.

I want us to read this piece of the text…the part where Jesus rests…because we need to know that this is part of the Gospel message too.  Resting.

Because in good old Mark fashion…this resting lasts for about a paragraph indentation…and we are back to reading about the many many needs of the people And we i know this – The needs of the people will never end. There are always people in need. We all saw a glimpse of the news or got a call from our family…or looked in the mirror this morning. We know of all the needs of the world, of our community, of our family.

Deep breath

Even in Jesus time, he – not every one was healed.  There were people who didn’t reach the fringe of his garments. There wasn’t enough time. There was never going to be enough time for him to heal everyone.

And this space I’ve just brought you into … this is the Fear space

This is the never enough time to reach out and help everyone. This is the space the disciples were likely in when they were reporting out to Jesus at the beginning of today’s gospel reading.  Maybe they were overwhelmed with all of the suffering that they were seeing, maybe they saw systems imposed by the Roman hierarchy that were hurting groups of people, maybe they needed an upgrade in transportation to reach more people, Maybe they saw selfishness in one another that just disappointed them…

And Jesus says come away and rest.

And he says come away and rest because this space of fear…this “they will never get it…this the people will always be suffering…this I will always be suffering place…” Is a space of fear. And it can feel very very real. It it can be very very real.

And Jesus never says, “It isn’t real.”

He just says rest. All by yourselves in a deserted place…rest.

Jesus doesn’t say – go into your bedroom and sleep until you’re not tired.

Jesus doesn’t say – lock the door to your home and watch Netflix until you feel nothing.

Jesus doesn’t say numb out until you no longer feel the fear. He says go all by yourself to a deserted place and rest…

It is there you will find God and God will give you what you need. It is there that the place of fear will be overcome by the place of God. The God space can easily overcome the Fear space.  But we must make room for God… And the good news is… it’s not hard. We don’t actually need to go to the desert.

The need for you to be you is enormous. We need you to survive and thrive. We, the human race, need you to be the best you can be so that we can be the best we can be

Do you need to be reminded of that? If so – here it is. WE need you. All of you. And life is really really difficult. We need to rest. Really rest in order to do be our awesomest selves.  In order to dwell in this God Space..instead of this fear space…we need to really rest

If that means you take the weekend to sit quietly with God…or if that means you stop by the side of the road for 5 minutes on your way home to just breathe by yourself.  Or if it means you show up to River of Hope in your slippers 20 minutes late because you just couldn’t move out of bed any faster…Good on ya. Your best is your best and we love you.

We need you and we need the best you

Take what you need

Give what you can

Rest knowing that Jesus loves you anyway and always

Amen.

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