Today’s Reading: Mark 1:1-28 (additional reading: Psalm 35:1-16 & Proverbs 9:11-12)
Mark’s Gospel is the most 21st Century-compatible Gospel there is. Because Mark gives the impression that everyone is always in a hurry – always busy. The word “immediately” appears over 50 times in Mark’s Gospel. Mark tells the story of Jesus being baptised and then he says, “And immediately the Holy Spirit sent him into the desert.” Then Jesus encounters Simon and Andrew fishing and invites them to be disciples and Mark says, “Immediately they left their nets.” Jesus heals people and casts out demons, and “immediately and quickly the news spread about Jesus.”
Even in the fast paced, and very successful and meaningful life of Jesus, there was the need to sometimes retreat to a quiet, lonely place for reflection, meditation, prayer and communion with God. We read in verse 35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed”.
This is absolutely necessary in our busy lives. It makes our busy lives worthwhile and bearable. More than bearable – times of being in a solitary and quiet place with God enable us to do the work we are to do.
Jesus doesn’t just go to that quiet and solitary place and stays there. He goes there to recharge his spiritual batteries and set us an example. Being there enables him to then get up and move onto find other places to preach his message.
Our world is so busy, our lives are so full. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could slow down just a bit, and be still, and simply experience the presence of God in our lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could, in the midst of work, family pressures, school work, and just turn off the television, turn off the cell phones, leave the pagers at home, and just pray. Being still and quiet from time to time is God’s will for our lives.
We all need times in our week when we slow down and become still and quiet because it is vital for our soul. So important is this principle, that God made the command for a day of rest, a Sabbath, part of the Ten Commandments.