Come Away And Rest A While

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

Jesus said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” So they went off in a boat by themselves to a deserted place. (Mk 6: 31-32)

Without a doubt, summer is my favorite season of the year. While every season has its charms, I really enjoy the sunshine, warmer temperatures, longer days and slower pace of summer. I like the Christmas season too, but it passes very quickly, only to give way to the depression of winter.
I think Jesus would have appreciated our summer routine. Even in the midst of his ministry with its daunting obstacles, relentless expectations, and demanding people, Jesus recognized the need to get away, slow down and rest a bit. Hence his words to his disciples during a very busy and hectic time: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
Of course the Biblical value of resting predates Jesus and has its roots even in the Old Testament, in the creation story. “Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.” (Gen 2: 2) One can almost imagine God sitting in a big, comfy reclining chair, smoking a pipe, looking down with great satisfaction on his handiwork, pleased with all he had done.
So if Jesus and his disciples needed to rest, and God the Creator rested too, surely we can do the same, and do so without guilt.
And that’s what summer is for. Summer is the time to slow down, rest, relax, recreate and reconnect. To reconnect – with our very soul, with nature, with family and friends, and most of all, with God.
So this summer, mindful of the divine example, and conscious of my need to do so, I plan on enjoying summer as a gift of God. After a very busy and trying year, I deserve summer. I plan on reading more, walking more, resting more, and praying more. I hope to spend less time looking at the phone and more time looking at the world around me. And I want to be more peaceful and closer to God “in whom I live and breathe and have my being.” (Acts 17: 28)
Something to think about: What are your plans for this summer? Will they help you reconnect with God?