Weekly Reflections 7-15-2015

Texts for Sunday July 19: Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

 There are a lot of details to which I must attend before our van heads to Detroit Wednesday (which in terms of this post is “today”). I think this focused yet scattered state has me thinking in bits and pieces about these texts and so I share some bits and pieces. 

The first thing that jumps out in the Gospel is that Jesus invites his disciples to rest. This is after they’ve been on the road – a couple weeks ago we read that he sent them out in pairs to heal people. They have been hard at it; rest is a good idea. I suspect this may be a scripture we all need to take to heart “Come away awhile and rest”. Throughout my professional life I have seen the level of busyness in people’s lives increase; first parents were harried and hurried, then gradually children’s schedules filled to overflowing, then parents’ lives became even more hectic. We are a society that needs to go away and rest awhile. Commentator and professor, Dr. David Lose points out that in the psalm for today – the 23rd - verse two says “makes me lie down in green pastures”. We are resistant; we need to be commanded to rest.

The second thing that jumps out at me is that the disciples don’t rest. Neither does Jesus. Before they even get to their retreat center the crowd has rushed over there to welcome them ashore.  I don’t think I’d have been very friendly at that point – I mean, give me a break!  But Jesus had compassion on them and began to teach them many things. Wow. 

Check out the GIFT post on Sunday to reflect on your need for rest.

Another thing from the Gospel: what is the big jump between v. 34 and v. 53? It’s the feeding of the 5000. The compassion Jesus had for the crowd extended to their stomach. “You feed them” he told those disciples who did not get to rest as they expected. After feeding them, Jesus dismissed the crowd. And they left this time. Jesus’ compassionate feeding finally filled them.

My final random thoughts land on the Ephesians text. This was the theme text for the Youth Gathering 3 years ago – Citizen’s with the Saints.  The author reminds us that there is no longer a difference between Jews and non-Jews.  Jesus has broken down the dividing wall; Jesus is peace for those who are far off and those who are near; those who were strangers are now citizens with the saints.  At the youth gathering this year, as disciples of Jesus, we are being challenged to “Build bridges, bear burdens, break chains, and bring hope”. Amen.

Just so you know, I’ve penciled rest into my calendar for the Monday & Tuesday after we get back. And during the week in Detroit I will get moments….as in this quote from Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish diary writer in the time of the Holocaust:

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245