"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

Wednesday, February 21 2018

Jesus said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” Mark 6:31 If you look up the full passage from which this verse comes(Mark 6:30-44) you can read the  wonderful narrative of the feeding of the five thousand men, plus women and children, with the child’s gift of five barley  loaves and two fish. The miracle picnic! “Come away…and rest.”

Well, no, as Jesus and his disciples were called to work a very busy evening!

When we speak about ‘rest’ thoughts often turn to sleep requirements, challenges and patterns.  What young parent has not said despondently, “If I could just get some sleep!” And, it is true, a lack of sleep affect us, our physical bodies are stressed, emotions are more high-strung, our ability to concentrate is compromised.  Thus the phenomena of driving accidents caused by sleep deprivation or ‘sleep drunk’.

And adequate sleep also nurtures our spiritual selves, as indeed we are one in body, mind and spirit.

Exodus 31: 12-17 records God’s words to Moses about Sabbath, “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord.”  For the Hebrew people that meant(and means) Saturdays and worship in the synagogue. For us, living the Pascal mystery, that means Sundays.  And we all have heard the long and complicated and justified list of why people don’t attend worship regularly.

But ‘rest’ can also describe taking time to ‘rest in the Lord’; to choose to set aside moments, or longer, not specifically to pray but to simply let the Holy One enfold us. Many people are familiar with the practice of meditation, often, depending on the particular brand followed, including the use of mantras. A Christian mantra can be helpful to enter the resting state, as it help to quiet all the busy-ness and mental gymnastics in which we engage constantly and ‘drowns out’ those persistent voices.  A simple one is best.  Breathe in deeply saying, or thinking, “Lord, have mercy.”  Breathe out with, “Christ have mercy.”  Or personalize the refrain “Lord, grant me peace”. Do the exercise several times, until you find yourselves simply breathing with God.

We also encounter the word ‘rest’ particularly in religious contexts, as in ‘entering into eternal rest’, our Christian hope and conviction…simply put, is that not being enfolded by the Holy One, “safe in the arms of Jesus”,  forever?  For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

Recipe: Crustless Quiche Can be prepared in less than 10 minutes, bakes for 20 minutes more…giving you time to ‘rest’. Oven at 350 degrees; lightly oil pie pan or other baking dish

3-4 eggs, lightly beaten; ½ cup cottage cheese(more or less); ½ cup milk
½ cup grated cheese, cheddar or other(more or less)
2 Tablespoons flour, 1 tsp baking powder
Season with pepper, salt, thyme, basil, chives etc to taste

Options:  Add a few mushrooms, thinly sliced; a couple of Tablespoons of green onion, red pepper, diced tomato, spinach, broccoli… (a bit of cooked and crumbled bacon, ham or prosciutto; try adding blue cheese, brie or feta cubes) Use your imagination. Mix all ingredients together and bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Serve with a side salad.  Can also be breakfast the next morning!