We know what it feels like to be tired. Physically tired from a hard day’s work. Mentally tired from trying to think through a complicated situation. Emotional tiredness caused by feelings that surface at times of grief, turbulence in a relationship, worrying about the kids, concerns over finances, nervousness about our health. Then there is the tiredness that can come from just living. Listlessness resulting from not finding much meaning in life, everyday appears to be humdrum and routine with no excitement. It looks like many of the people that came to hear Jesus had this kind of tiredness. They felt directionless, alone, just kind of shuffling aimlessly along, as Jesus says in the Gospel, “like sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:30-34)”.
This is the kind of tired felt by many people. What causes it? Among other things, such tiredness can come from losing the ability to desire very much from life. We just settle for the way things are and will no longer allow ourselves to dream of something better. We lose sight of anything meaningful that is pulling us toward the future so life is dull and boring…and exhausting.
Jesus came to proclaim the Good News. The Good News is that anything that is right and just that we desire for ourselves and for the world is exactly what God desires for us. Our desires for the world are to be far reaching, like God’s. These desires are what enliven us and pull us to the future. For example, a future of true equality among peoples of different races, genders and economic status. The desire for an end to terrorism and violence in the world, aching to see something other than the latest shooting in a church or school in the headlines. Longing for peace within families, the soothing of tensions between spouses, understanding between parents and children, reconciling decade’s old grudges among siblings and other relatives. Yearning for fairness in the workplace, an end to the acquisition of profit at the expense of human lives.
Our shepherd Jesus desires all that is right and just for our lives and our world. Tiredness gives way to new vitality and hope when his desires become ours.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher H. Smith