Even Jesus

Pond-Ripple
“Even Jesus”
Mark 1:29-39
Pastor Todd Buegler
March 2, 2016
(Wednesday Evening Lenten Service)
Trinity Lutheran Church

 

Grace and peace to you from God our creator, and from Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Even Jesus.

Even Jesus had to get away.

Even Jesus had to rest.

Even Jesus had to take a breath.

Even Jesus had to pray.

Even Jesus.

Our Gospel reading from Mark says that “as soon as Jesus had left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew…Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. He came to her and took her by the hand. Then the fever left her.”

Did you hear the words: “As soon as…” and “at once…” The disciples were rushed. They were in a hurry. “Come on Jesus! She needs your help!”

And then that evening…the Gospel says “at sunset…” so we know that it was late, the disciples brought to Jesus “all those who were sick, or possessed with demons. And it says that the “whole city” was crowded around his door. The “whole city.”

There is urgency. There is rush. There is immediacy to what the disciples were doing. And frankly, I can’t blame them. I’ve been with loved ones in the hospital, and at moments like that, I would do anything…anything…to make sure that they receive the treatment and care they need. Right now.

But the next morning, Jesus steps away. The Gospel says that it was still “very dark” when he got up and left. And when the disciples awoke, they had to go “hunt” for him. In other words, he’d snuck away, he didn’t tell them where he was going.

But once he got there, he prayed. That’s all. He just prayed.

Even Jesus. Even Jesus, Son of God and Savior of the world, needed to step away, and to pray.

When I was a student, I made an appointment to see my advisor…my mentor, Dr. Rollie Martinson, at the seminary, to talk about something…I don’t even remember what. The appointment was at 12:30. I got there a bit early, probably 12:20pm. I knocked on his office door. No reply. “No problem…I’m early.” I sat down on the chair outside of his office and waited for him to return from lunch, or wherever he was. At precisely 12:30pm, his office door opened and Dr. Martinson popped out. “Todd! Good to see you! Come on in!” I was confused. There was only one door into his office. He hadn’t walked past me. He had been in there when I knocked? He hadn’t answered?

I asked, and he explained: Every day, from 12pm to 12:30pm, he closes his office door, unplugs his phone, turns off his computer and sits and thinks…or reads the scriptures…or prays…or even naps. No interruptions, no distractions. Just time. “It’s what my heart needs” he said. As he explained this to me, I was awestruck.

Why do I have such a hard time with that? Why do I struggle with taking the time I need to renew myself? Is it discipline that I lack? Or am I too much a slave to my schedule, and my phone, and my laptop? Or is it my need to be a people pleaser? And so I say “yes” to way too many things?

Probably. Probably all of the above.

But the fact remains, there are times when we feel emptied. Emotionally, spiritually, physically, socially. There are times that we feel bone-tired. There are times when we feel alone. There are times when we need our cup filled.

And in all honesty, it’s easy to try and fill it ourselves. We fill it with things, with money, with relationships, with bad habits…you name it.

But none of those things will fill the God space that is within us. While it’s true that they make us feel a little better for a little while, they do nothing to fill this need that we have for meaning…for a relationship with God, for connecting with the Holy.

As a pastor, people come and talk to me about where they are in their life journey. I often hear words and phrases like: “unsure”, “adrift”, “incomplete” and “searching.”

There is a life that they are looking for that they currently aren’t living, and they are trying to figure out what to do in order to make it happen. They wonder about finding a new job, or a new house, or a new sport or hobby, a new degree, or sometimes a new relationship. “Could it be,” I often wonder with them, “that the life you want is the one you have, but that the one you have doesn’t feel connected?”

“How do I get it connected?” they wonder. Well, I can’t answer that. That relationship is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we receive in our baptism. And it looks different for each of us. But I do know this:

Even Jesus.

Even Jesus had to get away.

Even Jesus had to rest.

Even Jesus had to take a breath.

Even Jesus had to pray.

Even Jesus.

Consider this your permission to take some time…to set aside your schedule, your pace, your to-do list for just a little while; to quit trying to fill your cup with things that may bring short-term pleasure but no long-term meaning; and to get away…take a rest…take a breath…pray.

To pause and be renewed is to receive a gift. It is a gift for our hearts. It is a gift from the God who wants nothing more from us than faithful time.

Remember, Even Jesus had to rest.

Even Jesus had to pray.

Even Jesus.

Amen.

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