The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. Mark 6:30-33
On the backside of this “Mark Sandwich” is the apostles’ return with the reports of their internships. The Teacher invites them to get away from the throngs and rest. Once again, a teaching moment where the ministry never ends, so rest of mind and body is essential. Jesus is providing pastoral care.
The last 24 months have been brutal for priests and pastors. Many are burned out and ready to give up. It has been hard to rest their minds which fatigues the body. Sometimes people forget that pastors and priests have their own lives and relationships to attend to on top of carrying the burdens of the large extended families they care for. Give them a chance to get away and get some rest. Practice pastoral care toward the one who provides pastoral care for you.
I am very blessed by the church family I serve. They recognize that I have a wife, two adult kids (and a future son-in-law), an elderly father, siblings, and friends, as well as the few hundred people and colleagues I care for. So they offered their pastor pastoral care ten years ago by committing to providing me with a clergy renewal leave (sabbatical) every seven years. I tried to take a break in early 2021, but for obvious reasons, it was canceled.
The Master Teacher has invited me: “Come away by yourself to a desolate place and rest a while.” I have answered the invitation, and later this year, I will be taking that clergy renewal leave, and it will last
We are amazed at how relevant your teaching is even in our time. You practiced pastoral care for those who you were training to take on the role of pastors after you.
I pray this in the name of Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth. Amen!