Pastor's Page

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.”  Mark 6:30-32 NRSV  
            When we read Mark’s gospel account it is common to feel breathless and hurried.  Mark writes the shortest most compact account of Jesus life and ministry and I often feel that things rush along almost in a blur.  Come to think of it, my life often feels the same way! 
            In the first 29 verses of Chapter 6, Mark has us in a whirlwind of activity and emotion.  First, Jesus is rejected by the members of his hometown synagogue in Nazareth.  As he leaves them the text says he was amazed at their unbelief (I wonder what amazes Jesus about us?). Next Jesus sends out the 12 Disciples in their first solo flight of ministry – two by two to practice what they are learning. While the Disciples are away on their field assignment, word reaches Jesus that his cousin John has been beheaded by Herod.  This must have been a deep blow for Jesus.  Perhaps other than his mother Mary, John was one of the very few people that had an inkling of who Jesus is, and now he is dead, martyred by Herod.  It is no wonder that when the Disciples return and begin to recount their adventures of ministry Jesus says in essence, “Let’s get out of here and find a quiet place for restoration and healing.” 
          How do you restore your energies after you have reached the spiritual exhaustion point? What do you do when fatigue debt has mounted so high in every dimension of your life — physical, emotional, and spiritual — that you do not think you can do one more thing? Where do you go for renewal when plenty of sleep won't relieve the bone-weariness that pulses through every fiber of your being?
          These are not hypothetical questions. You probably know that from personal experience. There is a kind of tiredness that nothing seems to relieve. This kind of exhaustion comes at the end of a long spiritual battle, or from being the long-term caregiver for a loved one, or from ministering to people repeatedly until you are completely depleted or from battling a long and debilitating illness, or from living a “normal” everyday life – whatever normal might be!
          I pray that we will all find a place of rest and re-creation this summer, that we will find a place to heal and listen to the love of God whispered in the early morning dawn and the crackle of an evening fire (I hope there will be no bugs and plenteous smores in your summer!) 
            I also pray that you will include your church family in your summer plans. God is listening to your weary soul, and we are anxious to walk with you as Gods healing mercy washes over us all.  Come and join us for worship this Sunday – 8:00 a.m. Church on the Island, or at 9:00 or 10:30 a.m. at 17 W. Genesee Street – we'll save you a seat!is not noted here, and we have no way of knowing, but I can't help but notice that Matthew comes to faith very soon after the Sermon on the Mount of chapters 5,6 and 7. I can't help but wonder if Matthew was in the crowd on that hillside a couple of chapters ago. Perhaps he heard Jesus Rabbinic teaching, and found the teaching transforming and irresistible! That would make sense that days later as Jesus passes by he quickly leaves everything to follow.Take a look with me at a subtle development that usually goes unnoticed in the Gospel of Matthew. We are in chapter 9 - roughly a third of the way through Matthew's Gospel account and someone gets invited to the party! Why, it's Matthew himself!Take a look with me at a subtle development that usually goes unnoticed in the Gospel of Matthew. We are in chapter 9 - roughly a third of the way through Matthew's Gospel account and someone gets invited to the party! Why, it's Matthew himself!It makes me wonder and recreate some of the story in my imagination. I wonder what Matthew's life as a tax collector was like before this day when Jesus invites him to come and follow. Apparently Matthew was a devout Jew -- at least he carefully couches all of his Gospel account in context of the Jewish heritage.As a tax collector, he would have been outcast and hated by all of his Jewish nation, and yet he would have been rich and powerful.It is not noted here, and we have no way of knowing, but I can't help but notice that Matthew comes to faith very soon after the Sermon on the Mount of chapters 5,6 and 7. I can't help but wonder if Matthew was in the crowd on that hillside a couple of chapters ago. Perhaps he heard Jesus Rabbinic teaching, and found the teaching transforming and irresistible! That would make sense that days later as Jesus passes by he quickly leaves everything to follow.What is your salvation story? What led up to you hearing the invitation to come and follow Jesus? Perhaps today you and I will be a part of another persons call to follow our savior and friend Jesus of Nazareth!PRAYER: Lord God, thank-you for the circumstances, the sermons, the pastors and people that went into our call to follow you. Use us this day and everyday to invite others to come and follow! Amen.

In Grace and Peace, Bill Mudge