Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The summer months are upon us!

This is the time of year that many family vacation begin to take shape. It’s been a “school year” full of
work, stress, deadlines, demands, etc. And it is at this time of year that many families look forward to
vacation time, or a practice that has taken root in the past few years; “staycation” time.

The idea that getting away from the demands of life doesn’t necessarily mean physically getting away
from home. Simply being at home gives us a sense of comfort, peace and calmness. In fact, there is a
simple phrase that I have made use of the past number of years: “uneventful is a good thing”.
The idea that no emergency upheaval in our lives can be just as refreshing and beneficial as something
positive happening for us. Peace and calmness are certainly blessings that have immense value in our
lives, because stress is daily around us.

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recount the death of John the Baptist; a very stressful time
for many people, including Jesus and the disciples. Many people had flocked to hear John’s preaching
and repented as a result. Several of Jesus’ disciples and followers were originally followers of John. Even
Jesus, being related to John, would have had a difficult time with his death.

And some of these portions of the gospel stories are followed by the disciples returning from their solo
work which they were sent by Jesus to complete by going out into towns and villages, and ultimately
followed by Jesus feeding of the 5,000. This would have been a stressful time for everyone involved.
Within this intersection of tragedy, hardship, continued ministry, life demands, and stress, each gospel
includes a very brief, but powerful verse or two that shows us Jesus also understood the importance of
rest and taking the time to get away for refreshment.

“…Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.”
(Matthew 14:13 NRSV)

…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. 32And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
(Mark 6:31-32 NRSV)

“…He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida.”
(Luke 9:10b NRSV)

Jesus calls out to us in so many ways; through our faith, wisdom, His presence, and even calling us away to time of rest and refreshment, allowing us time to recover before going back to our work, our ministry, our studies, etc.

As we head into the summer months of warmer days and longer sunlight, may we all continue
to be guided by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to not only find the opportunity for times of rest and
refreshment, but to actually take advantage of them knowing that even rest is something our Lord and
Savior knows we need and commands us to do for ourselves, our families, and those around us.

Peace be with you all!
Pastor Chris