The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:17)
I love this time of year. Near the end of spring, and the beginning of summer – flowers everywhere, sunshine, hail, thunder showers, yard work, end of school year activities, hiking, biking, graduation announcements. Soon to come – warmer weather, sunshine, some rain, thunder showers, vacations, time with kids, summer projects at home, more yard work, camping, baptisms, more hiking and biking, swimming, going to a river or to the coast. Our youngest daughter just graduated from college and a close friend’s daughter is graduating from high school this week. (They were kids just a second ago!)
This time of year is busy. Sometimes vacations or times away are so busy, we feel we need a vacation when we get back. I’m trying to savor life this summer – staying home or going away for a few days, relaxing or active – I want to make sure I’m living a life drenched in, saturated in God’s invitation to be still, to know, to soak in his love, to “come away” with him.
After the disciples had been busy preaching, driving out demons, and healing sick people in Jesus’ name, they returned and told him all about it. Then Jesus said to them,
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (Mark 6:31-32)
I love that he says, “Come with me.” He’s not leaving us alone. This passage struck me recently, how important it is to go away and reenergize, not even necessarily alone (all the disciples and Jesus went together), but somewhere to rest, a quiet place. This passage is easy to skim over because in the very next sentence, we find out that this time it didn’t work; the crowds found them and wanted more of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus took compassion on them and went ahead and taught them many things. (Mark 6:34) He goes on to do a miracle, and feeds 5000+ hungry people that day, a fantastic story, and a great visual example of his power. But I also love that Jesus modeled an away time; he found it important for himself alone on other occasions, and for the disciples together with him, probably on a regular basis.
I just went away for a great weekend with some Creekside women. I hiked and later did some active stretchy yoga with some of the women, but mostly sat and talked and ate and helped with a puzzle, and read some. On Sunday morning those of us left cleaned up, packed up, and then prayed a prayer together from the Celtic Daily Prayer, which gathers prayers and meditations taken from the Bible and also from others, like Teresa of Avila. I loved it – a fitting end to the weekend.
At one point Sunday morning, I stood near a meadow alone and watched a giant heron (I think) take his time looking for food, moving slowly, listening, taking things in. Many birds were calling, the sun was shining, the tall trees were swaying in the breeze; it was a beautiful thing. A hummingbird came close and took my attention, and when I looked back to the giant bird, it was gone. A moment to soak in and remember.
So – my point is, sure, take vacations, stay busy, do summer projects and be active. But try to take some time for yourself with God. And no matter what you are doing, drench yourself in the fact that you are God’s beloved. Come away with him. “Draw near to him and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
And have a great summer!
PS. I’m planning to sign up soon for the fall women’s retreat at Cascades Camp this fall. Creekside women are delightful.
Kelly can be reached via email.