Reflection on 16th Sunday: 18th July 2021

Come and rest awhile.

‘Sabbath can refer to a single day of the week, a day of rest. Sabbath is also a way of being in time where we remember who we are, remember what we know and taste the gifts of spirit and eternity. Sabbath time is sacred time.

We need Sabbath-keeping not only for ourselves but also for the times when we go forth to heal the wounds of our world. Whatever we build, create, craft or serve will have the wisdom of rest in it. Rested and refreshed, we more generously serve all those who need our care. The human spirit is naturally generous: the instant we are filled, our first impulse is to be useful, to be kind, to give something away. A closer reading of Genesis reveals that the Sabbath was not simply a day off! It says, “On the seventh day God finished God’s work.”  The ancient rabbis taught that on the seventh day, God created menuhatranquillity, serenity, peace and repose: rest, in the deepest possible sense of fertile, healing stillness. Until the Sabbath, creation was unfinished. Only after the birth of menuha, only with tranquillity and rest, was the circle of creation made full and complete. On the seventh day, God created rest.’1

‘We know that Jesus cultivated a regular contemplative practice in his own life and ministry. Neuroscience shows that contemplative practice literally re-wires our brain and lays down new neural pathways that allow for compassion to be expressed through our lives. Jesus invites his apostles – and us – to adopt this practice of grounding ourselves in God, then engaging the day out of that grounding. He retreats, not to run away, but to prepare to re-engage and serve in a way that is whole and full, without burning out and losing ourselves in the process.’2 ‘Sabbath time prevents us from becoming too enamoured of our own abilities to perform wonders but deepens our awareness that God is the Source of all that we are able to do.3

The world aches for the generosity of a well-rested people.”1

Adapted [1] Wayne Muller: Sabbath  [2]Matthew Wright  [3] Barbara Reid

Gospel Mark 6:30-34

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, “You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while”; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat.  So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves.  But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.