Fr. Steve’s Thoughts – 7/18/2021

Lately, we’ve been reading from Mark’s Gospel.
Scholars say that Mark followed Peter all around,
Sketching out Peter’s sayings and stories.
That all stopped when Peter was martyred in Rome.
A horrible surprise.
Folks expected Jesus to come back any day. Any moment.
Peter was gone. Judgment Day was pending.
Mark was kind of in a hurry.

He expected Jesus to come any moment. Time was precious.
So, Mark’s Gospel bounces from one event to another.
It reads like a rough draft.
But one thing is clear: Mark knew that Jesus was the real deal.
Mark’s Gospel is about God intervening in time and history.
Jesus always knew he wouldn’t have enough time.
So Mark shows us that Jesus was always on the go.

The crowds were everywhere.
Jesus and his guys hopped in a boat, trying to get away.
But the crowd was like sheep without a shepherd.
They crowd Jesus and his Apostles.
Jesus knew that the world’s demands never cease.
That’s the way it was 2000 years ago,
and that’s the way it is today.
Many Episcopalians are retired. But, even if you’re retired,
We all know that the world will use you up.
And in these weird and uncertain semi-COVID days,
No one under 60 wants to be seen as “unessential”.
So we take our “work” with us. Whether we want to, or not.
Trapped by the “benefit” of technology …
work sticks with us like gum on our shoe.
We’ve been trying to get away from it all, for a long time.
Those of us of a certain age still remember Timothy Leary:
Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.
Who hasn’t wanted to drop out of the all-consuming rat race?
I imagine Jesus and his Apostles as Energizer Bunnies.
Always on the go. No place to rest. And no time.

The world then, saw Jesus a miracle working itinerant preacher.
Everyone knew what the System did someone pushed back.
Jesus knew time was short.
He knew what happened to John the Baptizer.
Jesus and his crew knew they were testing their luck.
They knew that it didn’t pay, in earthly terms,
to push the Temple Crowd, or the Romans.

Time was short.
But if Jesus’s life shows us anything at all it’s simply this:
As Christian’s we aren’t free to follow worldly rhythms.
When Jesus told his guys to take a break,
he was pushing back.
Everybody knows we are busy today.
But we didn’t invent “busy-ness”, or interruptions,
or corruption, or hunger, or greed.
Life has never really been like “Leave It To Beaver”.
The world is crazy. It’s the Human Condition.
The Devil never rests, and if he can help it, neither will we.
When Jesus told his guys to take a break, he was pushing back.

With all the noise and commentary and angry hubbub,
It’s easy to lose our way. It’s easy to forget Jesus’s call.
It’s easy to latch onto whatever seems like it’ll
make just one day go a bit easier.
Jesus knew what that’s like. We are called to follow his example.
As Christian’s we aren’t free to follow worldly rhythms.
So, even though Jesus was exhausted, he went ashore,
To a crowd that was sad and sick and lonely.
Lost sheep, without a shepherd.
And when he saw them, Jesus was moved by “compassion”.
Today, we claim to follow Jesus.
We must be moved, as he was moved,
when God calls us to serve the least of His Kingdom.
In the happy days before Covid locked us all down,
We were all making plans.
But the real world interrupted us.
Now, we are making new plans. Or returning to our old ones.
But let’s not forget that the Father who saw us through Covid,
Still calls us to serve His Kingdom.

We must take care of ourselves. That is a given.
But Jesus went to the Cross for everyone.
He still calls us to look after the needs of others,
Even people we aren’t comfortable with or don’t like.
We must hold tight to God’s commands, and
let go of the traditions of men.
The Holy Spirit moves lightly, wherever She chooses.
Slow down. Take a breath. Feel that cool breeze.
That’s God, moving in your life.
Time matters. Our time matters. But now is God’s time.
Where are we now?
What is Jesus calling us to do?
Who is Jesus calling us to be?