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.
— From Mark 6 (NRSV)
Even Jesus knows the need for summer vacation. But, if you know the story, the disciples and Jesus don’t get any rest. The crowds see them going and rush and hurry to beat them to their destination. And we’re not talking about a small crowd. It’s 5000 plus the women and children. No small thing.
It might be tempting to say that Jesus and the disciples weren’t very good at enforcing their boundaries, but that’s a modern construct. Just like we can’t pick up the Bible stories and drop them in our current times applying them literally. That’s problematic. We also can’t take our modern values and impose them on the stories in Jesus’ time, either.
But it’s still clear that Jesus often tries to find moments of peace to pray, think, listen, and be still. We can find many instances in all the Gospels. That’s an important example to follow. We do need moments of peace to find clarity of thought and purpose, especially now. Otherwise the white noise and clutter of our world distracts us.
If you’re anything like me, it takes days in a row to really unplug, right? Like it’s my experience that if I’m taking a week off, it takes until at least the third day before my shoulders completely droop in relaxation. I hope it’s less time for you! After that, it’s easy to chill especially if I’m in one of the places where I feel closest to God—beach or mountains, thank you very much! This year, it’s beach and it’s only a couple weeks away!
That feeling when you’re still in school and you’ve got the whole summer ahead of you—remember what that is like? That’s what freedom feels like, I guess. I don’t know how else I would explain that, but I know this: it’s amazing!
So I continue to wonder if we can capture that feeling year round in moments of peace and tranquility with God. Can we find space in the calendar and a literal space to be in our world where we can grab a piece of the peace? Even for a little bit?
Maybe it’s lunchtime in the shade of a big tree for a few minutes in the car. I see people doing this all the time. Cops, mail carriers, electricians, UPS drivers. You get the idea. I can’t be sure they’re spending their time listening for God, but at least they seem to be at peace. An old friend of mine calls these “little vacations.” The Spirit will move on its own, no doubt.
“Holy God, open our lens to see you and be with you even in small time bites.
We’ll take all the little vacations we can get!
Let our souls and spirits fly into your mystic.*
Let your Spirit come. Amen!”
Grace and Peace,
*Van Morrison, thank you for the image!