by Ann Fontaine
Mark 1: 35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38 He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”
We pick up the story of Jesus in Mark early in his ministry- people flock to see him – so many they often can’t even get near him. We can feel their desperation to be with this person. God’s healing reaches out to each one – but the crowd is ravenous for even more of the life being offered.
What is our usual response to such great need? To continue to exhaustion? To burn out in the need?
Jesus response is to go out alone early in the morning. He goes far enough that his disciples have to spend time hunting for him.
And then instead of returning to the crowds of yesterday he says — let’s move on.
Does he not care that many are going to be left unhealed? Or is his time here not really about physical healing. Is that just a side product of his real mission.
What does it mean for the work I need to be doing as a follower of Christ? If Jesus cannot or will not meet all the demands of the crowd, what do I do with the demands on my time and being?
Is this a story about priorities or about reality or the real reason for Christ’s presence in the world?
What do you do with the demands on your life when they overwhelm you?
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is known to have said, “I’m too busy to pray for less than two hours a day”
A New Zealand Prayer Book has this in Night Prayer P. 184
it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
In your name we pray.