Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Work, Rest, Prayer, Focus

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 -- Week of 3 Easter

To read about our daily commemorations, go to our Holy Women, Holy Men blog:

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 960)
Psalms 38 (morning)       119:25-48 (evening)
Daniel 5:1-12
1 John 5:1-12
Luke 4:38-44

We see a pattern in Luke's account of Jesus' work.  As the sun sets on the sabbath, a new week begins, no unlike our Monday morning.  People who are sick come to Jesus, and he does his primary work as a healer.  The emotionally or mentally troubled come into his presence and find coherence.  We assume that at some time later in the evening he goes to sleep.

Early in the morning, at daybreak, Luke tells us that Jesus "departed and went into a deserted place."  This is one of a number of times in Luke's account when he speaks of Jesus' praying.  Jesus finds time alone with God.  In that time alone, he is able to find direction and clear self-definition. 

Some people find him from the crowds he had served in previous night.  They urge him to return.  But Jesus sets an intentional boundary.  "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose."  So Jesus leaves to take the good news to the other villages and to their synagogues.

We are reminded of his teaching, as Luke introduced it earlier in this chapter.  It is a message of liberation, primarily directed toward the poor and oppressed.  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."  (I wrote Monday of the profound economic and political weight of this message.  Jesus was challenging economic and political powers with his words.)

Work, rest, prayer, focus.  There is a healthy pattern in this illustration of a day in the life of Jesus.  There is balance in his day.  Benedictine spirituality makes daily balance a central practice.  In a balanced day there is adequate time for work, for rest and recreation, for prayer, for study, for relationships. 

If Jesus needed to depart and to go into a deserted place, how much more do we?  Daily renewal through prayer, meditation, and reflection -- maybe exercise and study as well -- these are things that help fill our bodies, minds and spirits. 

Next week I will go on retreat with a group that I visit with annually.  It will be a time away.  There will be time for prayer, for rest, for reflection on my life and my work.  If past experience is any clue, I will return re-energized and more focused.  Sometimes going on from demand to demand can make us pretty blurry.  Rest and prayer helps restore focus.



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location -- --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 8:35 AM, Anonymous janet said...

May you enjoy a blessed retreat..

And in a few hours I will be able to say Hello Dalai!



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