August 5, 2021
Our Gospel lesson for July 18th included these verses: “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.” (Mark 6: 30-31)
This story begins with disciples coming back together again with Jesus after a time of separation. Yvette Schock writes in Christian Century (“Coming Back Together,” July 16, 2021):
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.” I’m struck by the way Jesus welcomes the disciples back into community here: he listens.
The stories pour out of them—some of the disciples may be elated and proud of what they were able to do, some are carrying the weight of the more difficult moments they experienced on their journey, and some (or maybe all of them) are sorting through a jumble of mixed emotions as they reflect on what they have been through. They need to talk about it all. So Jesus, the teacher and storyteller, gives them the floor and listens.
She reflects that as more of us gather in person, we will need to tell stories of the past year.
That’s what we hope to do on August 8th. We want to come together and tell our stories. Yes, we are going to celebrate what we have missed – births and birthdays, graduations and retirements, getting our drivers’ license, beginning a new job. We also need to acknowledge our losses – people we have loved, missed family moments, the sense of security.
We need to be attentive in these months ahead that each one of us is returning to the world different than we left. We need to be sensitive that some of us are eager to return to an active life and some of us need to re-enter more slowly. In any case, we also need to care and support one another and remind each other for the necessity and the gift of rest, of taking time for worship and prayer, and just being still.
Shock concludes her article with these words of hope, “Whatever the next few months look like for our congregations, we can trust that Jesus will be with us, gathering us in, listening to our stories, inviting us to rest, teaching and healing and feeding us, and sending us out all over again.”
Psalm 34: 1-8 is a song of praise. Jesus reminds his disciples that he is the bread of life in John 6:35, 41–51, and models the true life lived in God.
Food for Thought:
“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” – Maya Angelou
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701