Time for a holy day

Salvator Rosa: Landscape with St Anthony and St Paul the Hermit. On display in the National Gallery of Scotland

Salvator Rosa: Landscape with St Anthony and St Paul the Hermit

Jesus said, ‘Come away to a deserted place by yourselves and rest a while’, for many were coming and going and they had no leisure even to eat. Mark 6:31 (New Revised Standard Version)

The desert or wilderness is the place where, in the scripture, God often tests his people, and it is also a place for spiritual renewal. Our picture represents the very early Christian impulse to follow Jesus away from the crowd and distraction of daily life into the silence of the desert. Humility is a characteristic of Christian monasticism and this painting shows the figure dwarfed by the wilderness around.

We too must learn like those first disciples to go away to a lonely place, to a deserted place, to rest for a while. We must learn to look after ourselves, in order that we can serve Christ in the world. Not just our physical selves but our spiritual lives.

So, whether you are going on retreat to a remote and cold monastic house, or whether you are planning a holiday in the sun with family or friends, make space and time to be with God, to rest in God’s presence.

Know that because Jesus died on the Cross you are free, free to live life to the full, free to encounter God in the city and in the desert, and to live to the glory of God and for the well-being of all God’s people.

Adapted from Alison Cozen’s sermon at this link.