Come Away and Rest Awhile by Cheryl TenWolde

Mountains or Seashore – which do you prefer for rest and relaxation? In central New York, even in a field stargazing can be enjoyed on a warm summer night. Perched atop a hay bale, the cares of our lives can be escaped for a time. Maybe we will even experience a meteor shower!

It is easier said than done to get away from it all with the intrusion of cell phones and tablets that go everywhere with us. But even in the time of Jesus, it was hard to avoid the madding crowd. As Jesus moved through fields, villages, mountains, and sea shores, the crowds followed along. If Jesus was in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, they could see where he was headed and arrive at his destination before him! But even in his exhaustion, Jesus was always gracious to them. To him they were sheep without a shepherd, so he fed them spiritually with his teachings and physically with a meal.

After feeding the 5000, he made his disciples get in a boat while he went up on a mountain to pray

alone. From his high vantage point, he saw a sudden storm break on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were in peril as they struggled making no headway through the waves. Immediately, he came to them. He constantly moved from prayer to action and back again.

Soon after that, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him on a special retreat high up on a mountain. During a prayer event that we celebrate on August 6 as the Transfiguration, these three disciples witnessed the profound interpenetration of Jesus with the oneness of God. They saw that Jesus himself is “light from light”. The holy shekinah cloud, which is the sign of God himself also overshadowed the disciples, and they heard the words, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him!” Deep in prayer, Jesus is reminded of his baptism and now is strengthened for his journey to Jerusalem. The disciples progressively became aware of

the identity of Jesus and what listening to him would entail. They all must go back down the mountain and serve people. They must learn ever anew how to listen to Jesus, and to accompany him on his mission of teaching, preaching, praying, and healing.

Through baptism, we are clothed with Jesus and are transformed to be light to others. Like Jesus and his disciples, we must move between prayer and action and back again to discern what Jesus is doing in our midst. Emmanuel, St. Andrew’s, and St. Matthew’s Churches warmly welcome Fr. Steve White as he guides us forward in learning, praying, and serving together.

I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion, glory, and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him…” Daniel 7: 9-10

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