Mark 1: 35 - 39

35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he (Jesus) got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, "Everyone is searching for you." 38 He answered, "Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do." 39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Happy New Year! It is my hope and prayer together we will live in the moment of right NOW by seeking opportunities to celebrate humanity's diversity and tear down the barriers constructed because of our differences. The love of God through Jesus has done just that!

Have you made any New Year resolutions? Personally, I'm not into specific resolutions because for me resolutions are made to be broken. My past is littered with broken resolves which didn't even make it out of the month of January.

However, one thing I prayerfully hope you will consider is carving out some time and space for just you to be and breathe. There often can be mixed messaging or extremes proclaimed from our pens and pulpits. It can either be an individualistic focus where it is all about you and nobody else but you or it has nothing to do with you as an individual and you were created to simply give, serve and empty yourself.

One of the characteristics Jesus modeled for his disciples was one which demonstrated balance. Jesus showed the true meaning and purpose in life is to love, serve and bless other people; to live an outward flowing love. While at the same time Jesus demonstrated self-care and self-love for himself by taking time for him to just breathe and be. You can't give what you don't have and if you don't take the time to renew, refresh and recreate you will do more harm than good! There will be little love to flow outward to anybody.

The above exchange Mark's gospel between Jesus and his disciples is one of my favorite. People are looking for Jesus to heal. He is in high demand. But where is he? He's chilling at the spa, taking some early morning moments to renew, refresh and recreate in prayer. When Simon and crew find him, Jesus gets chewed out. "Everybody is searching for you," they say. "We've been text messaging, instant messaging, posting on your Facebook page and you have the audacity to not answer." So how does Jesus respond? He just keeps stepping. He does NOT apologize for taking time for himself or explain where he was and what he was doing, instead he tells them, "Come on, we have work to do." Jesus is ready to work by loving and serving others after he took time to love and serve himself.

In this day and age of constant contact it's hard to create that space and find that place to just be and breathe. But I invite you, during the year 2016, schedule some time for you. Turn off your cellphone. Log off of Facebook. Carve out space for you to be and breathe. We'll be here when you get back. And hopefully when we see you, you will be better able to love, serve and give once you have received.

Love, Pastor G

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