Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Walking by the Sea
Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan. Matthew 15:29-39
I find things begin with walking by the sea. Interesting conversations emerge when folks take a walk by the ocean. I know when I walk by myself, even though there is much silence, there is also much noise. The wind and the surf beat upon the sand in a rhythmic music and beat all their own. The sights and the sounds stir dreams and ideas loose in my head. When I am writing and get stuck, there is nothing like walking by the water to set free my imagination. A walk by the sea has a calming effect, an invitation to deep reflection and a new breath of inspiration. Though I walk by familiar waters most often, I still find new ideas, new vistas and new way to begin again.
Jesus took himself away for a while to walk by the sea and then sat on a sea side ridge. He turned to the crowd of people that came to him and gave them all they asked for - healing, forgiveness and food. That moment in time of walking by the sea, renewed his compassion and love, restored his strength and solidified his commitment. Even Jesus needed to take that walk, listening deeply inward, so that he could summon God's love from within for the sake of others. It reminds me that Jesus was human, and to do his best work needed regular moments to be recharged and re-inspired. We are challenged to do the same, since, like Jesus, we are very human. Unlike Jesus, we are not the son of God, meaning we might need even more regular walks by the sea to restore our strength and vision. Rest and self care was important, even for Jesus.
Today I ask God to help me honor sabbath time, the times of restoration and renewal, and know that all self care is for the welfare our others. We cannot serve if we are broken and weak, we struggle to love if we are turned inward in pain. Help me to walk by the sea, seeking God's healing and inspiration. And give me the strength, when renewed, to share God's blessings with all people. May we all take the time we need, so that the world might know there is love and abundance for all.