Sermon, “Action and Rest, or doing and being?” By Pastor Martha Postlethwaite..July 22, 2018-sermon
July 22, 2018
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
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.
Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 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…
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
At the end of my sermon last Sunday, I really should have hung up a sign that read, “To be continued…” Because this passage picks up right where last week’s left off. And in case you weren’t here, I can sum it up pretty quickly.
Last week Jesus went to his hometown and had little success healing those he knew and loved. He shared his famous line about a prophet being recognized everywhere but his own home town. Even Jesus couldn’t heal everyone, because people have to WANT to be healed.
Second, Jesus realized that even HE could not do it alone. He sent his followers out in twos to go to every village and town, to cast out demons and heal the people. His advice was, go in twos. No one can do this alone. Don’t take anything with you, but depend on the hospitality of others. AND, if you go into a place that doesn’t want you, brush the dust of your sandals and move on.
As today’s reading begins, the apostles are returning from their first time in the field. They begin to tell him all their stories. I imagine there were some doozies. After listening, he says to them the words I would LOVE to have Jesus whisper into my ear:
“Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.” He knew what they most needed…rest. Perhaps now they understood his need to go off by himself to pray and meditate. Trying to help someone who is suffering is exhausting. Many of you know this all too well. Jesus knew it too. You can’t give from an empty cup.
Ever notice how Jesus sounds a lot like Frank Sinatra? You remember Frank, the guy who sang, “Do, be, do, be, do….be, do, be, do be.”
Being and doing. You can’t have one without the other….at least not for very long. Work and rest. Ebb and flow. Day and night. Being and doing.
This week at the Trustees meeting, we began to talk about all the things people DO to keep this church going. We have a very small staff for the number of people we serve. There is me, Linda, who is part time, and Donny who is part time.
Everything else depends on volunteers. The conversation started as we talked about John Frye. How many of you know John? This summer he has spent hundreds of hours repairing and painting all the brick work around the building. He’s made it his full-time job, even in the awful heat and humidity, and he isn’t being paid a penny.
Bob Swoverland, our lay leader and another full-time volunteer, began to list all the people who pitch in just to make Sunday morning happen each week. Let me know if I am forgetting anyone.
Someone has to:
Care for the grounds and and keep the trees trimmed
Unlock the building
Start the coffee
Donate the food
Set up the food, which has become a full meal.
Purchase kitchen supplies
Clean up after fellowship time
Plan the worship service
Prepare the bulletin and power point.
Post the Scripture and theme on our website.
Post the message on facebook
Practice music before the service and lead the singing
Then, in addition to our weekly singers, the bands and individuals that play before the service and during the offering have to practice and show up.
Work in the sound room
Prepare and share a story of hope
Prepare a message for the children
Teach Sunday School
Watch the toddlers in the nursery
Create fabric art for our sanctuary
Bring flowers each week
Set up and clean up communion
Lead meditation after the service
Pray for each other
Be there after the service for someone who is hurting
Greet people and hand out bulletins
Recruit people to serve communion
Give people rides to church
Give hard earned money at offering time
Count the money after the service
Share important announcements with the community
And maybe the biggest thing is showing up. It takes all of us to make this happen.
And that’s just Sunday morning. What else to do you in service to the people of this community? Do you serve on a committee? Do you help serve meals to the hungry? Do you volunteer at the Rummage Sale or at the Recovery Fest? Do you call someone who hasn’t been in church for awhile to let them know you miss them? Do you send a card to someone who has been ill or experienced a loss? Do you sponsor someone?
Let me say to you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
We have so much to be grateful for. There is a lot of “doing” going on that most of us are not even aware of. And it takes all of us. No one can be “doing” all the time. We need to take turns and share the load.
Sometimes we can step up and help. At other times, we are in need of healing and need to rest. It is a good thing to do. It is good to let someone know that you need a break. Remember it is Jesus who whispers in our ears that it is a holy thing to rest.
Where are you in your being and doing? Is it time for you to step up and volunteer for something new so that others can rest? Are you feeling burnt out and in need of healing yourself?
Allow me to point out a few last details from this passage. First of all, as usual, Jesus does not get to rest. Each time he tries to separate himself from the crowds and have some time to recharge, he is surrounded by people in need. In this passage, he feels compassion for them and begins to teach and heal. This is good news for us. Jesus always goes ahead of us and provides what we need. We are not God. We are not the source of life and healing.
And finally, the passage makes it clear that he cannot be everywhere at once. After Jesus crosses over the water, “people recognized him, and rushed about the whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.”
And that is our work. When we are feeling strong and well, we need to bring people who are suffering in on mats so that they can know the healing power of love in this community.