In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
The apostles gathered around Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 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. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
my whole life long.
Jesus was an activist in kingdom of God work. Of course it was work which involved everything: inside out, but in a deft way, certainly not at all in the way and ways of the world. However we parse that, there’s something else absolutely necessary for us to keep in mind. Jesus did not run on empty, but kept himself full in the presence and fellowship of God. And he taught his disciples to do the same. Of course any good apprentice or follower of a rabbi as in those days, will want to do what the rabbi tells them to do, and will want to imitate their life.
What about us today? Some of us are activists in one way or another for God’s kingdom in Christ, for the good news of that kingdom in him and what that might mean today. And all of that’s a tall order. It isn’t easy, particularly when there’s so much resistance, often entrenched, unyielding, and even from religious folks just like in Jesus’s time.
We must take care. “Self-care” or maybe a better way of putting it so that we avoid some of the baggage of that term, “soul-care” hopefully having less if any baggage. Just to rest, yes physically, but for us in Jesus much more. To rest in God’s presence, to just be still and come to know in that way, yes, that God is God, that certainly neither we nor anyone else is, that while what we do is important, we are not left on our own, that God wants to help us. And most important for us as followers of Christ, we want to be caught up into God’s kingdom work no less. But that can wait for now. We need times, intervals of just sheer rest in God.