As I prepared this week, a single phrase continued to echo in my mind “he was moved by compassion” for the people.
Within our scripture, we heard about the need to care for ourselves with the reoccurring theme of rest and restoration. Jesus, through out scripture, seeks to escape the crowds in order to recharge his own batteries.
Jesus had sent his disciples out to proclaim the Word. If not openly welcomed by the community, the disciples were instructed to simply shake the dust from their sandals and to move along to the next community. In our passage, the disciples have returned from their adventures and are excitedly telling Jesus of the proclamations preached, the miracles performed, and the healing of the people. Jesus replies “It is great that you listened and now it is time to rest.”
We forget at times about those needed pauses in scripture.
At one time, I saw a Facebook meme that read:
I was talking to a pastor that said he never takes a day off because the devil doesn’t either.
I said “you might want to get a new role model”.
As the Church, the community of believers, we work together in our mission and call; however, at times, we each must pause, escape, and recharge our batteries.
Jesus and the disciples are seeking that needed pause while traveling on a boat from one side of the sea to the other.
Although Jesus and the disciples receive a brief pause, they are met with another crowd seeking the proclamation of the Word, miracles, and healings. These are the ‘lost sheep without a shepherd’, which is common imagery found within our Jeremiah and Psalm texts this morning.
Jesus is tired and perhaps does not desire to deal with the crowd.
The apostles, similarly, may not desire to deal with the crowd.
BUT, Jesus was “moved by compassion” for the people.
I often speak of our baptismal promises, including last week (Speaking Truth to Power) when I shared that we are freed from fear and the powers/authorities of this time and place that might strive in opposition to God’s will.
We are called to proclaim the Word in word and deed.
We are called to act with COMPASSION and mercy.
We are called to love and we are called to serve all people.
BUT, there is another important piece to the equation.
Although we are freed and called to do ‘something’, do we always do it? NO.
We need something to motivate us. We need something to “move” us.
I often refer to that ‘something’ as the Holy Spirit, who is the motor that moves us ahead. Although it may remain the Holy Spirit, the glimpsed motive (or motor) is COMPASSION.
We, as followers of Jesus the Christ, are called to be like Christ in our time and place.
We are called to have a heart like Jesus the Christ, which is a heart not motivated by fear, greed, or pride but a heart that is moved by grace, mercy, and compassion.
My hope and prayer is that each day we ask that the Holy Spirit help shape our hearts to be more like Jesus’ own heart, in order that we may become more like Christ.
My hope and prayer is that when we witness another in pain, another suffering, or another in any need that we are moved by compassion to live into and live out our baptismal promises and callings, which we share.
My theory is that our response to those baptismal promises and callings in compassion will ultimately defeat the devil (and evil), not the number of hours we clock.
My prayer is that as we are sent into the world as examples of Christ that the light of God’s compassion shines through us in all that we say and do. Amen.