Monday, July 9, 2012

Finding a quiet place (Mark 6:31) in our hectic world - with an Aesop insight between rest and being ready to be used.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 6:31 (NIV)
Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, (Jesus) said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

According to a Greek legend, in ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity.
Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, "Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bows implies."
The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained, "If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it."

Aesop knew Jesus’ wisdom.  There needs to be a “quiet place” in our life. A simple place to which we might go for real rest. They people were coming to Jesus for help, wisdom and healing and he pulled away to a quiet place.

There was a time when the society stopped and everybody rested. It was called Sunday. Now that day is just like every other day of the week for most of the world. The stock markets are closed as well as the banks, but not much more. The world never rests.

In my first parish they rolled up the sidewalk on Sunday, but they also did it on Wednesday afternoon. That was “fishin’ day” and every thing stopped except for the suit manufacturing plants. And then there was one dry goodies storeowner who, whenever he got the urge, would try to enlist one of the teenagers to “mind” the store for an hour (which turned out to be more like 3 to 4 hours). If he couldn’t find someone to look after the store he would simply put out a sign stating, “Back in an hour, help yourself” and then he would be off fishing.

In todays world finding a resting place might be a challenge, but it is necessary for the body, mind and spirit. It is as important as food. I’ve noticed that my grandchildren will go and go and go … and then stop, go to the book nook and sit as they look through their books. They have found their daily resting place and it is visited several times a day. They are not thinking about the fact that their bodies need a rest, they just follow their natural instincts.

When we become adults we ignore, to our peril, the messages that our bodies are sending us. We need to find a “quiet place” in the rhythm of our life ... a daily and weekly quiet place ... a time to pull away and allow our spirit, body and mind to come back together and by chance, allow God to speak to our souls.

Here’s to all of us finding our quiet place.

Slow us down, Lord, slow us down. Help us to find a quiet place in our hectic world. Help us to discipline ourselves enough to pull away (and not feel guilty) and find a moment in each day to rest. And, please help us recognize that you are already there when we arrive. 

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