Wednesday, April 18th. Mark 6:45-46

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray. Mark 6:45-46


As I shared yesterday, I’ve spent the first two days this week in a gathering of people heavily invested in Christian ministry.  Pastors, seminary professors, post-graduate seminary students, an ELCA bishop, the general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, leaders from a Christian college, an Anglican priest from England, and a pastor from Africa…quite an assortment of voices. 


The question that guided our conversation was “What are the practices for listening, reflecting and consciously living in the life of the triune God by the power of the Holy Spirit?”


While this sounds heady, theological and high brow, in fact it led to the most helpful, down to earth, extended conversation about what it means to be church together that I have had in a long long time. 


Among the practices we identified were things like creating space to spend significant time listening closely to scripture and to one another in ways that go much deeper than listening to someone lead a Bible study or read a two minute devotion.  We talked about what it means to take seriously our identity as the Body of Christ, that ideas like “the mission of God” or “forgiveness” or “reconciliation” or “unity” only exist in the messy flesh and blood interactions of people living smack dab in the reality of creation.  They aren’t “ideas” but a way of living life together in community, for the sake of the community.


We talked about hospitality as a far deeper guide to interaction with one another than a cup of coffee and an easily seen sign to the entrance door of a sanctuary.  We considered the growing influence of Christian experience as it comes to us through the understanding of the growing Christian witness of the southern hemisphere and Asia – places with a much clearer sense of religion infusing all of life, of the interaction of the spiritual and material realities of life.


At the end of the day today, as the group prepared to break up, I found myself seeing the faces of so many lay leaders at our congregation and wishing that they could have been here.  They would have come away, as I am, with a new-found appreciation for the life and mission we share as the church and a renewed willingness to do what it takes to make the most of the time we have.


And now, typing this in an airport, waiting for a delayed flight, I am appreciating again the guidance and modeling of Jesus who, after a busy day of ministry, goes to the mountain to pray.  For it is in prayer, not so much telling God what we want but being with the God who wants us, that we create the space to remember who and what we are about.


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, draw near to us as we draw near to you.  Guide us, fill us, send us, use us, empty us, and fill us anew.  Thank you for the many ways you continue to reveal yourself to us, and through us, for the sake of the world.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


6 Responses to “Wednesday, April 18th. Mark 6:45-46”

  1. Marilyn Pickard Says:

    These are the questions addressed in the Walk to Emmaus program, tho a little different vocabulary. The three points discussed there are Prayer, Study ,and Action with a continuing accountability in small group meetings (weekly).
    Blessings, Mrilyn P

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for making me think again about mission. I’ve done just about every “job” in the church…..served in many capacities….but never felt equipped for mission. Wish something would snap into place for me about this. At least I can think and pray for direction.

  3. Dolores Syverson Says:

    Great message, we need more of these type of messages, TThanks for sharing

  4. Denny T Says:

    Marilyn and I had the same response to your devotion but she beat me to the comment. In the Lutheran Church, Walk to Emmaus is called Via de Cristo, which is a spirit filled weekend focused on the Grace of God and in that we learn a lot about Piety, study and Action. The most important aspect of the VDC movement is the 4th day, after we return to our homes and churches. Just last weekend, the Bishop of the S. C. Synod met with a gathering of 4th day groups and reminded us that the 4th day is about missional aspects of our faith, not just getting together. Your devotion spoke directly to that same directon of all the faithful. I recommend a Walk to Emmaus or VDC weekend to all. It will be one of the most rewarding three days of your life.

  5. Kara Says:

    ” . . .being with the God who wants us, . . .” really struck a cord with me. Who doesn’t want to be wanted? And wanted by God, none the less. I think many people fail to realize that important aspect of prayer. Thank you once again, Pastor Kerry.

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