Long before I had credentials to officiate at wedding ceremonies, I coordinated weddings in the family catering business. Officiating is tremendously rewarding and fun. And while it takes a certain amount of work to officiate a wedding ceremony, it isn’t anything like the work required to cater a wedding. As coordinator, I learned a valuable lesson about pacing myself and taking time to rest. As I learned from experience, most of us can go, go, go. Then we need time to rest and recharge.
Understanding our own – and others’ – need for rest sometimes requires deep faith. Because when we rest, we trust that all still will get done as it needs to be done. This is one of the many lessons Jesus offers the disciples. According to the Gospel Writer Mark (6:30-32), Jesus says, “‘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. So they went away . . . to a deserted place by themselves.”
Some Bible scholars call this passage an editorial transition. As a transition, it takes us from one aspect of Jesus’s ministry to another. We also need transitions as part of our life journeys. This means taking time for rest, retreat, solitude, silence and Sabbath to transition from one aspect of our lives to another.
Many of us unintentionally struggle with transition because we’re very busy being Human Doings, rather Human Beings. Perhaps you’ve noticed, Blessed Reader: Our culture seems to reward people for doing more and more with less and less. Many of us live in a continual state of over-functioning, over-commitment, and fatigue. Our lives, our days, our hours, our minutes are scheduled up one end and down the other.
So, Jesus’s editorial transition reminds us of the real transitions of life we’re encouraged to take daily, weekly and monthly. Jesus typically took some private time alone, away from the crowds of people around him, as well as from the disciples.
When we take time to rest, as Jesus describes it, we remove ourselves from the public eye to renew, recharge and rejuvenate. To plug ourselves into the God charger. To refill the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual fuel tank with what we need to continue our divine journey, doing our divine work, whatever our calling. We’re invited to remember: We need time to rest, to stop all our doing and just be.
Transitioning, for a short time, to a “deserted place” is part of our spiritual practice. Transition allows us to expand our consciousness and to renew ourselves in body, mind and spirit. And these transitions require a certain level of trust. We need to stay centered in faith, trusting God – and one another. Because when we make the conscious choice to rest, we also consciously release our need to direct the Universe our way. Some things might not get done, and/or they might not get done as we would do them. Still, we trust that the Universe won’t come to a screeching halt.
This extra-ordinary teaching invites us to discover the opportunities, insights, and revelations which come, not necessarily during the transitions themselves, but in all the moments afterward. Because without his moments away, Jesus could not have run his ministry or lived his life. Neither can we.
Happy Labor Day Rest to All!