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Come Away

Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while. Mark 6:31

For the past six weeks our home has been filled to overflowing with the presence of our daughter, her husband and our 19-month-old granddaughter. For several of those days, another of our children, just back from two years in Australia, joined us as well. Our house is small with only 1.5 bathrooms, and the weather has been exceedingly hot and humid—not conducive to taking refuge outside past 9am. It has been a challenge for us all as well as a blessing. But it’s no wonder that Jesus’ words in Mark’s Gospel inviting us to come away by ourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile is the one that shimmers for me today!

I’m also aware that after more than a year of sheltering in place, self-quarantine, and physical isolation, we’re just beginning to return to being with other people again. So this message for some might not be particularly welcome. And yet…

Where I live, traffic seems to have returned to pre-pandemic volumes, stores are back to the usual crowded aisles and responsibilities seem to be increasing once again. Perhaps Jesus’ short invitation to come away and rest awhile serves also as a reminder that the world can and has functioned just fine without our presence and that solitude isn’t as scary as we might have thought it could be. In fact, stepping away might be more attractive and even necessary now that we’ve gotten a long dose of it. Perhaps in Jesus’ invitation there hides a question: have we been changed by our experience of the pandemic? Have we learned lessons, gained new insights, shifted our priorities? Or will we just go back to life as it was, to ourselves as we were before March of 2020? Our American culture has been addicted to busyness and fast-paced life. Did slamming on the brakes shake us up enough to slow us down now that we’re freer to go and do as we please? I hope so. I hope that slowing down, taking time away and learning the value of rest are among the many blessings that come to us from this very challenging time.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Stephen Charleston recently posted a Benediction on his Facebook blog. I think it’s a wonderful reminder of how, in the midst of whatever lies ahead, we are held in God’s loving and compassionate embrace. I trust it will help us all to be open to whatever God might be working in us in these days.

A Benediction by Stephen Charleston

Neither the watchful eye nor the healing hand will be far from you.
Your path will find its own way and your mission will be fulfilled.
The angels will go before you and the ancestors will walk at your side.
What you have planted will prosper and what you need most will be supplied.
The work of your heart will bless all you love and the wisdom you have shared will fall to fertile minds.
You will be hopeful in difficult times and joyous in every good moment that can be shared.
You will give what you have, just as you have received what has been given.
Contentment will be a reward for you, as peace of mind has been your inheritance.
Your prayers are being answered and will always be answered in ways marvelous and mysterious.
Draw in a deep breath, a breath you have earned, here on the shores of faithfulness, beside the endless sea of compassion.

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Cindy Simpson
Cindy Simpson
2 days ago

Beautiful.. caused me to take a deep breath!
We are expecting our third grandchild in the middle of next month..
right now I feel called to solitude again🙏🏻
I appreciate your sharing 🤗
Cindy Simpson

Cindy Simpson
Cindy Simpson
1 day ago

I was also drawn to Nora Jones song.. Come away with me..
came across today as Gods invitation. Again, thanks!