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Renewal & Refreshment Along The Way

18 January 2020

Jesus praying



“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that the crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16)

According to the church calendar, we are now in the season after Epiphany. The Feast of Epiphany was on January sixth. The basic thought of the Epiphany is a very simple one. It is the showing forth of Christ to all the people and nations of the earth. Christ is the light of God, shining in the darkness all around us; in whose light we are enlightened, by whom the straight path is marked out for us, so that we may not go astray.

During the Epiphany season, and then on, in February, into the time of Lent, the Sunday Scripture readings give us the chance to meet Jesus in the tension of life which he experienced so often during his public ministry, and which is so clearly described in the above quotation from the Gospel of Luke. Jesus was pressed in on every side by those who wanted his attention, by those who wanted to question him, and by those who followed by his side but did not yet understand what his mission and ministry were really to mean. The demands on his time, mind, body, and abilities must have been tremendous, and yet Jesus went ahead until the time was right for him to head back into Jerusalem for the last time before his crucifixion.

Logically, we might wonder how he was ever able to do the things he did and to meet the demands of so many varied and constantly demanding people. Too often, we focus so exclusively on the fact that he was divine, that we forget that Jesus was just as much ‘fully human’ as ‘fully divine’. As fully human, what Jesus did and how Jesus found the strength to perform those deeds, does indeed relate to our own human experiences. While we certainly are not to confuse ourselves with ‘God’, we are empowered with God’s Holy Spirit in baptism, and we are therefore enabled to follow a similar path as Jesus modeled. The passage from Luke shows that Jesus needed to find renewal and refreshment along the way.

As the Gospel of Luke mentions in the above quotation, “Jesus often withdrew” and “prayed”. We ourselves would do well to follow this simple, yet often dismissed, example of peace and withdrawal. To assess our priorities. To find places where we can truly be alone to catch our breath and remember what life is all about. Times to pray also provide us with the ability to rise above the daily demands of our lives and to remind ourselves that there is a greater dimension to life that is beyond the here and now.

This might be a good time to think about your own situation. Are there ways you might use these examples of prayer and withdrawal to help counter the pressures that seem to be wearing you down? If so, plan ways to get these new disciplines underway, and to thereby get your life back on the track for healthy Christian living.








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