Time Away Together
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He 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. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
The idea of vacation has some biblical merit when we note that even Jesus recognized the importance of leisure time. After his disciples had been out doing the work of the Gospel, he commended them to take a break and to find rest. He realized the importance of finding respite to take care of oneself physically, mentally, and spiritually. As modern day disciples, we too are called to search for such moments of leisure. As we go about our day to day lives, striving to be living witnesses of the Gospel in all that we do, we also need to take time and step away.
However, this stepping away is not one into isolation away from others, it’s a stepping away WITH others. Jesus took his disciples, all of them together, on a search for leisure. They were not sent away one by one to find rest, but went together. They would search for a place where the world would be less likely to distract so that they could lean away from their work and lean into the caring companionship of their fellow disciples.
As we venture farther into summer, many of us will be finding time to be away – time to disconnect from the work that we do and find some respite. However, this is not a time to distance ourselves from one another, in fact it’s a time to draw closer. Time away is a time to lean into the love found within community which will recharge our souls, so that, when we step back into our work we will be refreshed.
This time away together is also important because sometimes, as the story in Mark will attest, the work of discipleship finds us even when we are in search of rest, and the work of discipleship is not meant to be done alone. As we look toward our summer plans, may we find time to step away together in search of leisure while always remaining connected to our fellow disciples, so that, whenever we are called into service, we are never alone.
Prayer: God of Rest, help us find time for leisure this summer, finding moment to lean away from work and into your faithful people, so that we may be recharged and refreshed as we live for and serve you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.