Saint for the day: Blaise (d. c. 316)
1 Kings 3:4-13 – Psalm 119 – Mark 6:30-34
“Come away to a quiet place”
Those words, “come” and “away” don’t ordinarily go together so we have to look to the deeper meaning. Let us begin with a look at our first reading from the 1st book of Kings. We’ve finished our journey with David and now his son, Solomon, as “King” doesn’t know if he can fit into the shoes of his father, David. So he decides to go on a retreat. He does all the things that were appropriate to a “retreat” given his era and circumstances. At the end, he asks to be given an understanding heart and is rewarded and blessed because he didn’t ask for riches or power.
In our Gospel Jesus appears to be over-taxed by the needs of the people who need healing and comfort yet he still tells his disciples, “come away…” He somehow knows that there will always be need of one kind or another but without taking time to “re-charge” he will not be able to do much good.
I remember a time when I was on my way into the church for Evening Prayer. Somebody approached me and asked “Brother D, I’m in bad shape and I need to talk to you about ….” I responded, “I’m just on my way to Evening Prayer can we …” and he interrupted me with, “That’s OK. Go and pray. We all need you to do that. We depend on that and my little “crisis” will still be with me when you finish your time of prayer.”
That was many years ago and I still keep that in mind. There will always be the people who are like “sheep without a shepherd” but our “shepherding” will never be effective if it is not supported by some, “come away to a quiet place-ness” that Jesus speaks about in this Gospel. We often refer to the “Wisdom of Solomon” and we need to look at how that term came to be. He was deeply aware of his own weakness in stepping into his fathers shoes but he was “wise” enough to not ask for riches or power but, rather, for an “understanding heart” and in the end he gets all he needs to govern this vast people.
Everywhere in our world today we can see leaders who need to read this section of Scripture so that they can truly lead with “understanding hearts” rather than seek ways to become rich and powerful. All of us have to be reminded that we need to “come away” to that quiet place where we are given all the energy that we need to do all that Jesus asks of us. “Don’t just do something. Stand there.” Amen