Jesus commissioned his disciples to go into the villages and preach, teach and heal in His power and authority. In this Sunday’s reading (Mark 6:30-34 &53-56), they return from their mission exuberant about all they had done. Jesus, the Shepherd/Leader, understood that caring for others can be exhausting. Jesus, therefore, encouraged the disciples saying, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.” The stillness, the silence of deserted places can be terrifying, yet it is in the physical desert or the deserts of our lives that we rest from the world’s temptations and meet God. God intervenes, speaks to us, and saves us. Deserts are spaces for nourishment and renewal where our souls get aligned to God’s priorities.
But the Teacher’s and the disciples’ healings and teachings stirred so much enthusiasm that a “great crowd” followed them to their desert destination. Their plan for rest was broken. Recognizing that the people were like “sheep without a shepherd” Jesus knew that their spiritual need was a priority and He had compassion on them. Jesus, the good Shepherd, perceived that what was necessary was a spiritual renewal for the crowd that had gathered. And teaching was essential for the healing, the rebirth of the soul and spirit, so people may enter God’s Kingdom. Jesus, therefore, began to teach “many things”, nourishing people spiritually. Later Jesus would provide physical nourishment, then bodily and emotional healing, clearly expressing that the soul’s well-being is God’s priority.
What do we hunger most for; God’s Word, or for our emotional and physical needs to be met? When last have you engaged in silent spiritual rest with God?
Prayer: “Silent Father, Silent Son, Silent Holy Spirit. Silent One, I love you. In the silence of eyes, I see you. In the silence of unspoken words, I hear you. In the silence of a sudden touch, I feel you. In the silence of a flower’s fragrance, I smell you. In the silence of bread and wine, I taste you. Sensual God, I love you! I love you in the silence: silent Father, silent Son, silent Holy Spirit. Silent One, I love you! (The Reverend Harry A. Wiggett 1882-1962)