And he [Jesus] said to them [the disciples], “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.—Mark 6:31 ESV.
As we read these words, on this first day of another Lent, we seem to hear Jesus speaking, not to the Twelve, inviting them to accompany him to the retired plain … at the upper end of the Lake of Gennesaret, but to us. To us, to come apart with Him, for a time at least, from the world and the noise and confusion of the multitude, and in the quiet of this holy season seek spiritual refreshment for the soul, and so for the duties of life. The first call of the Master at this time is for this, the first invitation of the Church, to come apart to rest awhile, and, free from the distractions of our busy lives, to hold closer and deeper and more constant communion with Him. And all this, which otherwise might not be ours in like degree, in order that when the multitude closes in again about us, as it did about them, it may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus, and that we may do our work better in the world. … Get down on your knees alone, or you will begin no work aright, and then up and be doing.
About the author and the source
Frederic Dan Huntington (1819–1904) was the first Protestant Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Central New York as well as an author and educator. Early in his career, he founded a military school.
Bishop Huntington, quoted in Reginal Heber Howe’s Quadragesima; or Thoughts for Each Day in Lent. New York: Thomas Whittaker, 1895.