Posted on Tue, Jul 21, 2015
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Gospel Text: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Feeding the Five Thousand
30 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. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
Healing the Sick in Gennesaret
53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54 When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
So, if you were suddenly given the power to heal, teach, love, show compassion, and demonstrate the grace and mercy of God right now… what would you do? Where would you go? Who would you visit first? Would you run to Kapiolani Hospital to heal all the kids with cancer? Would you go down to Honolulu Hale with all the answers to deal with the house-less issues, sustainability and cultural understanding? Would you jump on a plane to the United Nations to instruct all the leaders on how to live in peace together and really care for their citizens? I am sure you could think of tons of better ideas than I can, maybe bigger or more subtle, but just as important.
Why do you think the disciples have gathered around Jesus with such excitement? Look earlier in Mark 6, and you will learn what kind of gift Jesus gave to his disciples: Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
They were given that gift I mentioned earlier, and they did all the amazing things that Jesus was doing… They were emulating their master! And they were so excited!
I would bet in the day’s prior to being sent out by Jesus, when the disciples saw Jesus heal someone, they probably wondered if someday they would ever be able to do what their teacher was doing… or they were wondering, “How!? How does Jesus do that?!” and mostly, “I hope Jesus doesn’t ask me to do that! There is no way I could do that!” But they just did it! And now they came back to Jesus with all the great news that Jesus was expecting to hear from them as soon as they returned. And I bet not one of them was subtle about sharing the stories of their experiences with Jesus and each other. And what would you bet; there was a crowd of people that were just healed by the disciples following the disciples to their master!
It is a crowded loud, exciting moment, and I am sure the disciples were just as giddy and ready to go out and do it again!
But soon, their enthusiasm seems to deter them from a very important act of every community. They became so busy, and wrapped up in what was going on around them, that they no longer had the proper time to eat with each other and fellowship. Jesus makes it clear, that not even for a miracle worker, is the work more important that the act of community, sharing, and rest.
The disciples were probably biting at the bit to get back to the people to cure all ho were afflicted. But Jesus sees their folly and orders them to, ‘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.’ Jesus is making it clear, what they did was wonderful, but they also need to quiet time to absorb and contemplate what they learned… and most of all, they needed to maintain community and their relationships, and the best way to do that was to be sure they sat, and shared a meal together, talking and sharing about their amazing experience. But, their excitement and anticipation or the expectations of the outside community was infringing on this very important activity of strengthening relationships and dining together.
With their new celebrity status, there was no quiet place in the village, so they go to a boat, presumably a sailboat. On a boat, crossing the gentle lake, there was nothing to do but think and contemplate the recent events, or if the winds are light, nap and let the sailors enjoy the art of sailing.
The Sea of Galilee or Lake Gennesaret was shaped like an upside down pear. If you had a boat, it was much easier to take a sailboat from village to village around the lake, however, as you travel to the next town; the people on land could clearly see where you were going and they would be scurrying along the road in anticipation of the town it appeared you were going to. Therefore, even before Jesus would arrive at a village, the people would be waiting for him… and before he could even step foot on the shore, there was a crowd of people begging him to cure their loved ones, reconcile broken relationships, help them escape their poverty, everything! And I am sure they weren’t quiet and organized about their requests!
Notice they never beached their boat, they always moored it out a bit and Jesus had to walk to shore… I think they did this so that it was easier for Jesus to depart and go on to the next village.
But the people kept coming, they were hungry, lost, and hurting… yet Jesus never turned them away. Notice that with the throng that kept heaping themselves upon Jesus, “had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd…”
Meaning, Jesus understands the human condition in all its fullness. It wasn’t a peaceful or tranquil time in Palestine at that time. Life was hard and short. Hope for the future was scarce, and sometimes the best you could hope for was some water, figs and maybe some bread or fish. And God could see the fear in their hearts, hear their cries, and feel the longing to be made whole again, in each and every person that crowded around Jesus each and every day.
Do you really think people now are all that different that people in Jesus’ time. If you heard that Jesus was in Kailua healing and preaching this afternoon, where would you be this afternoon? In Kailua, and you would be there for your own healing, the healing of a loved one, or any person you know that is hurting! I have a list of people suffering from cancer right now that I would be piling into my Fiesta to see Jesus in Kailua. What if Jesus was going to be in Haleiwa tomorrow? Same story!
Jesus hasn’t changed either; accept now we should see Jesus in the church which represents the Body of Christ in the world. And guess what? Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church understands this! When someone is hurting we have a growing number of Stephen Ministers saying, “here I am send me!” We have several people who take their pets to give comfort to those who are hurting. We have members who work hard at helping us take better care of ourselves through yoga, better eating, and learning more about healthy living. We also, take some time each October to spend time in fellowship and community at Mokuleia Camp for our Ohana Camp. However, we are learning, but we could still improve on that, “eating leisurely together thing…”
Even though we still become slaves to our calendars and goals, we need to hear Jesus’ call for us to ‘stop and listen.’ Find the quiet place where you can breathe and refresh your souls. I am learning about the importance and benefits of meditation and how it can help me with remaining focused in ministry and life. I also am learning where my “quiet places” are, or the activities that Re-Create my heart and give me joy and a more open mind. You all know that I like being underwater scuba diving… that is the best place I feel I can breath. We need to remember that each of us are gifted differently so that we can be refreshed and renewed in different places in different ways.
If you don’t know your place of renewal, Stop AND Listen! First feel the gaze of compassion Jesus has for each one of us. We all know our need for work and the responsibilities that are demanded of us, but this is not the center of our lives, there is more to life than work. Jesus knows out need to be whole; that is why the first gift we were given was FORGIVENESS. Wholeness can be found in a quiet meal together, as a community, where we know that where two or more of us are gathered, Jesus is standing amongst us. There is nothing better than sharing a community meal, standing in a circle, receiving the bread and wine where Jesus is our true and life-giving host. Come Lord Jesus.
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