Fri, 5 February 2021
O proclaimers of the faith
even unto death,
death on a cross,
you who have followed
in the way of our Lord
loving your enemies
even as they killed you,
encouraging your brothers
even with your last breath –
may the blood you shed not be forgotten
by those of the nation in which you preached
and by all souls who seek God;
may it nourish the land
and bring it to bear much fruit
Pray that we who are so fearful here
may find the faith and courage
and so be blessed with the same grace
that imparts the peace of the kingdom.
Fri, 5 February 2021
(Heb.13:15-17,20-21; Ps.23:1-6; Mk.6:30-34)
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.”
All things are cared for by the Lord; our work and our rest are in His hands. Nothing need we fear. No good desire goes unfulfilled – His sheep He loves.
Brothers and sisters, “through Christ may [the God of peace] carry out in you all that is pleasing to Him.” Let Him guide you “in right paths” for the accomplishment of His will. In “good deeds and generosity,” in obedience to superiors, in every intention of the heart, “continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge His name,” for this thanksgiving He desires before all deeds and in all deeds; such praise will ensure His blessing, and lead to greater praise, and so greater blessing! Have every confidence that the Lord “will furnish you with all that is good, that you may do His will,” and rejoice always in all you accomplish by His grace.
See in our gospel that when “the apostles returned to Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and what they had taught,” “He said to them, ‘Come by yourselves to an out-of-the-way place and rest a little.’” They have done His work faithfully, and now He would give them rest; now He would refresh and renew their souls. “Beside restful waters He leads me”: in a “boat by themselves” He takes them. “In verdant pastures He gives me repose”: “to a deserted place” the boat goes. And though upon arrival at their destination the people wait “like sheep without a shepherd” and so their work must resume, this does not distract from the promised rest which awaits the finishing of our work in this world, and indeed but emphasizes that our rest shall be complete only in heaven.
For now the Lord watches over. Now He cares for us like needful sheep. Now He takes upon Himself all our fears and burdens, and calls us to do the same for all. What should we want? What do we need when we do the Lord’s will? In this laying down of our lives all is provided; in our work we take our rest, we eat our bread. For He is with us with His “goodness and kindness”; He remains at our side even in darkness… We become one with our Shepherd, and no further grace we desire.
O LORD, in you alone we take our rest,
through the blood of your only Son.
YHWH, through Jesus may we carry out your will; washed in His blood may we be raised from the dead. In Him let us take our refuge, and nothing shall be wanting to us.
In your Son all our needs are met, and this to overflowing. For He has pity on all our weakness – O LORD, let us be obedient to our Shepherd!
LORD our God, let us praise you in all things, your NAME ever on our lips. In all our work may we be blessed and brought into your heavenly presence.
You would give us rest, dear God; you call us to an out-of-the-way place to be with you. May we find repose in your eternal kingdom after these days of toil are passed.
But even here you are with us, LORD, even in this dark place. Your Son is the Shepherd who walks amongst His sheep, leading us ever to your side.