Too Busy To Be Present…?
On Sunday I asked a question in worship:
Have we been too busy to be really present with one another?
In our society which believes that time is a commodity, this is an important question for all of us, not some of us.
About a month ago when preparing a sermon based on the gospel stories of Jesus feeding thousands of people with only a few loaves and fishes, I came across this unique verse in Mark’s version of the story:
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to [His disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” (Mark 6:31)
This verse sets up the story. The crowds haven’t gathered around Jesus yet. Jesus has not begun teaching yet. No one has gotten hungry yet. In fact, the story clearly states that the people were all too busy (coming and going) to eat!
As Jesus observes the busy-ness around him, I think he is intentional about teaching the disciples an important lesson. Jesus teaches his disciples how to respond to busy-ness. He calls them to come with him to a quiet place and rest. In other words, Jesus responds to busy-ness with presence.
Now, it may sound crazy to you, but Jesus links presence with rest. I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me to understand presence with God as rest. But presence with other people for so many of us is anything but rest! Presence with other people too often means having to entertain someone, participate in a conversation, attend an event, complete a task or do something. In our society, being present with others often means work.
But for Jesus, being present with his disciples in the midst of busy people meant a time of rest and renewal. The closest I come to this I my life is with my wife. In the evenings, just sitting in the same room as Joanie – no matter whether we are reading, writing, watching TV, checking email or Facebook or whatever – is a time of rest. And I find that I rest better in her presence than when she is in another room doing something around the house (like she just happens to be doing right now!).
Do you have these moments in your life when the presence of another person leads you to rest well? Maybe in a time of need, the presence of someone else is comforting. Maybe when you are sick, the presence of someone to care for you allows you to rest better. Maybe in a time of grief and loss, the presence of someone else allows you to let go of the feelings you had been holding in.
The presence of others can bring rest, if we are willing to let go of our inclination to do something and simply receive the gift of presence. And being present with others could be a key to receiving God’s presence. After all, scripture reminds us that when two or more are gathered, the Holy Spirit is present.
So, this week, practice presence. Practice receiving the gift of restful presence. Allow yourself to let go in the presence of a loved one. Find someone with whom you can go to a quiet place and find rest…for in that place you will also find God.
Miss Sunday’s sermon? Read it or listen here. Un-busy: Presence
Tuesday, March 19th, 6:15 pm Small group
Wednesday, March 20th, 1:30 pm Prayer & Inspiration
Wednesday, March 20th, 6:00 pm Choir Practice
Thursday, March 21st, 3:00 pm Ladles of Love, Meal preparation
Thursday, March 21st, 4:00 pm Ladles of Love, Meal delivery
**We need more volunteers for delivery. Please come to the church at 3:45 pm to help
Saturday, March 23rd, 10:00 am – 12 noon Rise Against Hunger, Service Opportunity, Meal Prep, Shrine Center
Sunday, March 24th, 11:00 am Worship; Baptism Class Continues (10:00 am & 4:00 pm), 12 noon Fundraising/Fellowship Lunch, bring your favorite Casserole
March 26th, AM/PM Sanctuary Clean-up/Work-day
March 31st, 5:00 pm, Organ Concert featuring Dr. Andrew Scanlon on our 1923 Skinner Organ
April 13th, afternoon (time TBA), Easter Egg Hunt/Fellowship at the home of Joanie & Jason Williams
April 26th, Lunch: Fundraising BBQ
April 15, 2019
April 10, 2019
April 08, 2019