As he went ashore, Jesus saw a great crowd; and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34
author of our life and end of our pilgrimage:
guide us by your word and Spirit
amid all perils and temptations,
that we may not wander from your way,
but may run our course in safety
until we come to our eternal rest in you;
through the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
- 2 Samuel 7:1-14a
- Psalm 89:21-38
- Ephesians 2:11-22
- Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
- 2 Samuel 11:1-15
- Psalm 14
- Ephesians 3:14-21
- John 6:1-21
A Thought to Ponder
Pentecost 8 – Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for the vast crowd, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.
The apostles return from their first mission of preaching and healing and report to Jesus. He gathers them in a “deserted” place, but the people find them and keep coming. Even their attempt to escape by boat to the other side of the lake is foiled once word gets out.
This incident recorded by Mark in today’s Gospel (which precedes his account of the feeding of the multitude) offers two important insights into our Church’s ministry: that the mission of the Church does not spring from mass marketing techniques or publicity strategies but from the Gospel of compassion we seek to live and share, from the authority of our commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation; and that leadership, inspired by the wisdom of God, means not dictating and ruling over others but inspiring, providing for and selflessly caring for those whom we are called to lead.
In our heeding those “shepherds” in our society and culture who promise us only the best, who affirm and rationalise our fears, who give us “enemies” to direct our fear and their promise to vanquish them for us, who reduce the complexities of life to simple rules and absolutes, we are the “shepherdless” for whom Jesus’ heart breaks.
In Christ, God has raised up for us a shepherd to guide us in God’s ways of compassion and reconciliation; a shepherd to lead us safely along life’s rough crags and dangerous drop-offs to God’s pasture of peace and fulfilment; a shepherd who helps us clear the obstacles and hurdles of fear and self-interest to live lives centred in what is right and just.
From the clamour of the marketplace and the demands of our calendars and “to do” lists, we need “deserted,” out-of-the-way places to be alone with God, to listen to the quiet of our hearts to hear the voice of God.
The Gospel “deserted place” can be a physical place of quiet and solitude to re-connect with God and the things of God — but the “deserted place” can also be time: a few minutes we set aside to stop, to realise God’s presence in our midst, to feel grateful for God’s grace in the love of family and friends. We all need “deserted” places to escape the demands and expectations of our over-scheduled lives to hear anew the voice of God in the quiet of our hearts, to realise anew God’s presence in our lives in the love and care of family and friends.
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Sermon[cpm-player skin=”device-player-skin” width=”450″ playlist=”true” type=”audio”] [cpm-item file=”https://greenwoodanglican.files.wordpress.com/2023/06/46c03-pentecost-8b.m4a”%5DPentecost 8B[/cpm-item] [/cpm-player]
You can read the Pew Sheet here9d968-pentecost-8-b