The Gospel lesson this Sunday is composed of two passages from Mark 6 linked by their similar content:
Between these two passages, Mark tells the stories of the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6: 35–44) and Jesus walking on the water (Mark 6:45–52). This is an example of a story (or stories) within a story, a favourite genre for Mark. In this case, Mark ties together stories of Jesus' teaching and healing ministry (Mark 6: 30–34, 53–56) with a story of his providing bread – a story with eucharistic overtones (Mark 6:35–44).
These passages speak to us, because we have felt like the disciples must have felt – hurried and harried. The needs were great; the crowds were large; and the disciples could not even find time to eat. If busyness was a problem for them, it seems even worse now. Our problem is a world in which experts have engineered out all the breathing room. Our labour-saving appliances fail to save us from labouring, our communications technology fails to bring us together, and our leisure is filled with chores.
Just as well Jesus invites us to find our rest in him:
“Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
Till next time,
Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills