“Come away and rest awhile…”

schaefer“Come away and rest awhile,” Jesus invites the harried disciples in Mark 6:31. You see the disciples were very busy people. They had been following Jesus watching his ups and downs in ministry. Then they were sent out to cure the sick and cast out demons. They were emotionally drained by recent news of John the Baptist’s political execution and consumed by important work. Maybe they didn’t realize they needed some rest. But Jesus knew they needed it, so he invited them: “Come away and rest awhile.”

Jesus’ invitation (or was it a command?) is just as relevant for us today as it was for the first disciples. One way to respond is to attend our parish retreat, September 16 – 18 at the Kanuga Conference Center. Come away and rest awhile!

Our theme this year is “Finding Jesus in Our Stories.” This theme was inspired by a recent Clergy Quiet Day offered by the Right Reverend Porter Taylor, a masterful story teller and current bishop of Western North Carolina. He emphasized that each of our lives, our stories, are patterned after the BIG STORY of God’s love for creation, which has been embodied most fully in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Every person I’ve gotten to know well has at least one story of death and resurrection in their lives – some of us have many.

During our retreat, we will have the opportunity to listen to each other’s stories. Often we can hear traces of Jesus’ love and presence better in another person’s story than in our own. So by listening and reflecting to one another what we hear, our faith in Jesus’ presence with us day by day is strengthened. And surely the bonds of affection among us will grow. What a gift.

So I hope you’ll join me, Fr. Ollie, and the amazing planning team led by parishioners Cooper Morrison and Meg Gibson at Kanuga. The firm deadline (set by the Conference Center) is August 15. You can register here. Come away and rest awhile.

The Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector