In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls our attention to one of the Type A characteristics in most of us: we are usually in a hurry. Jesus’ disciples seemed to have been pleased with themselves as they reported in to him all “that they had done and had taught.” We heard in last week’s Gospel, the sending of the disciples out to the villages to heal the sick and to preach the Good News of God’s redeeming love. No doubt they had converted a few people, healed some and told the stories about the love, mercy and forgiveness of God. Like most of us, they were very pleased with themselves for a job well apparently well done. And they were excited about moving to the next mission.

Even though these disciples are pleased with all they have accomplished, Jesus tells them it’s time to come away from the busyness and rest a while. He invites them to a place of quiet with time for prayer and reflection.

All that they have done in God’s holy name has brought hope to people, and the disciples’ spirits have also been fed and nurtured by the holy encounter with others. That is what happens when anyone is open to the spirit of God and can proclaim the joy-filled message of hope, of faith, of love. Jesus says, “Come away for awhile [from all this activity] and rest.” Rest? But there are so many other things to be done. I’ll rest when my vacation comes.

A society in a hurry: that’s us. We get into our cars to get to the next place as quickly as possible. When traffic comes to a standstill or another car slows down for some good reason, some fly into what we now call road rage. When our computers don’t respond quickly enough, we’re ready to seek out the newest technology to see if we can log on faster.

We go to our jobs in a hurry for solutions of the problem of the day. We manage our homes, constantly trying to find a quicker way to get the children where they need to go, meals that can be cooked in the microwave, and we run errands all over town on our day off. In the course of a day, there are many things to be done and we can barely wait for our vacation. But Jesus says come away for a while. Rest and renew yourselves in the presence of God.

A preacher, in the parish issue of Proclaim offers this vignette. “A woman once asked Scott Peck, the well-known author, psychiatrist and lecturer, whether he prayed. Dr. Peck responded that he prayed every day. When questioned further as to how he could afford to take the time, given his busy schedule, he replied that with all that he did, he could not afford not to take the time.”

Making time for God each day may be a bit intimidating for some. What if we set aside fifteen minutes to listen to our inner voice, or to discern if God is trying to say something to us? What if we ask God to indwell us with God’s peace as we begin our day? We are likely to find ourselves behaving very differently. With all that we attempt to do in each day, can we afford not to invite God into our hearts and into the busyness of our lives?

Isaiah understood what it meant to pause to be in the presence of God. In his poem meant to give hope and consolation to Israel, he speaks of God as the “high and lofty One,” the God who will bring healing and peace to the people who call upon God’s name. God’s people are made holy when in God’s holy presence. And for as long as anyone has ever recalled, God has always invited us to perfect our lives as only can be done when we seek and dwell in God’s presence.

The psalmist laments being mocked because of his illness. There seems no rest from the anguish, yet he or she makes the time to offer prayers and supplication before God. It is in the prayers and acknowledgement of all that is happening that the psalmist can better endure all that is creating a life of chaos. So much so, that there is abundant praise for all that God is doing in his life and in the world. Yes, the psalmist has paused long enough to realize that God is working wonders everyday and, for the many blessings, one must be thankful.

“He came to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near.” But who can hear the message of Paul if we are always in a great hurry to conquer yet one more challenge? Peace begins within our hearts and minds. We need a place or “a soul quiet enough to hear God speak” if we are to live our lives in harmony and grace. To pause long enough to be at peace with our selves is a feat unto itself. It requires soul searching and extracting the extra baggage of fear, discontent and even malice. That’s laborious work requiring harsh reality checks.

Did you ever talk to yourself–out loud? If not, try it. It’s amazing what you tell yourself about yourself. Oh! It’s best done alone–for obvious reasons.

“Come away to a quiet place” was evident as Arafat and Barak, two of our world leaders, met at Camp David to seek a road to peace for the Israelis and Palestinians. They left some of the tensions of their homeland to be apart, to talk, to rest and reflect on the potential for peace between their people–a gift this nation was able to give. How much more can we as individuals offer this gift of solitude to others as well as ourselves?

Each of us leads a life that requires some effort. And with that comes responsibility for self-care and the sharing of our time, talents and energies with others. Our Lord asks no less of us. This has been true throughout the ages. Like most lives today, the disciples were going about their work non-stop. The disciples had only the little time in their boat before they were again busy with the crowds that had gathered on the other shore. And at the end of the day, they were to witness yet another miracle of God through Christ.

God continues to work wonders in our midst each day. God continues to invite us into quiet companionship. Seek the Lord where he wills to be found: in the solitude of your mind, in the peaceful corner of your heart. St. Julian of Norwich offers that “prayer is not an idle occupation. It’s a very powerful instrument of our work and love.” It enlightens and enlivens all that we are called to do. A moment of your time for the Holy One who never forsakes us is a blessing for the day. We cannot afford not to take it. Amen.