Come away and rest awhile. Br. Todd Blackham
Even before Jesus sent his apostles to proclaim his resurrection resurrection Jesus sent his disciples to do all the sorts of work he had been doing in his lifetime, to preach the good news, to call to repentance, to cast out demons and heal the sick. They were sent with practically nothing to sustain them, sent in faith and trust.
Jesus has also sent you to do his work. To preach good news and call to repentance, to cast out demons and heal the sick. You may feel well equipped and you may feel stripped and exhausted. Maybe it seems like things are going well, maybe there have been setbacks. In any case, come away now and return to Jesus.
When the disciples came back, chattering about all the wonderful things they had done, Jesus met them with tenderness and care. “Come away and rest awhile.” Scripture says there were so many people coming and going that they hardly had time to eat. Does that sound familiar? Does the very good, very important work feel endless?
Jesus wants to meet you with the same tenderness and care right now. “Come away and rest awhile.”
The very good, very important work will resume but now, come away and rest.
Take those deep, cleansing breaths and listen to the word of your body carrying all that you’ve been doing. Allow yourself to relax into a moment of peace and calm in the presence of Christ. Hand over that burden to rest with Jesus.
He knew what it was to be busy with God’s work. Of anyone who walked the earth, Jesus came with a mission of cosmic significance. And he would slip away frequently to be present to God. Even in moments of deepest weight and concern, Jesus went into prayer and was met by God’s tender care. After his 40 days in the wilderness and his confrontation with Satan angels came and ministered to him. After his intense, agonizing prayer in the garden not my will by yours be done God sent an angel to come and give him strength.
Jesus knew the love of God in such a profound way that the intimacy of a loving parent was the foremost way he spoke of God the Father. The good shepherd said that he and the father are one, that his sheep hear his voice and follow him and will never be snatched away from him. Come away and rest a while with Jesus.
Is there a person, maybe a group of people that make you light up when you see them? Could be an old friend or a spouse, or a teammate or a precious child. Perhaps even the joy of greeting a beloved pet. Can you tap into that feeling, the squeal of delight when you’re reunited, the smile that beams on your face and your arms that stretch out longing for an embrace. Hearts beating together in a loving squeeze.
Can you tap into the sense that right this moment our loving creator sees you approaching and that same delight fills God’s own countenance? Holy God, beaming with joy and pleasure at the sight of you returning your attention. You are precious in God’s sight, you are beloved, cherished, adored. Let yourself rest and savor God’s delight in you. Let God say to you, well done, good and faithful servant. And rest here awhile. The very good, very important work will return but for now, come away and rest.
O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray you,
to your presence, where we may be still and know that you
are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.