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“Jesus said, ‘Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.’ For there was constant coming and going and they had no leisure even to eat.”

–Mark 6:31

We are nearing the end of our July worship series called, ‘A Day in the Life of Jesus.’ Each week, we are looking at a different Gospel story of how Jesus spent his days. Yesterday in worship, we heard a story of how Jesus was trying to find time for his disciples to take a break, get a little rest and maybe play a little.

The summer months are usually the time we try to take some vacation and maybe find some more time to ‘play.’ Play means different things to different people. It may be going outdoors to engage in a sports game, or walk, or bike. Play may mean reading, taking in a movie, gardening or playing in the kitchen cooking or baking something new.

Author Dennis Johnson has a book that was published in 2020 called, To Live in God: Daily Reflections with Walter Rauschenbusch. Even though Rauschenbusch lived from 1861-1918, his reflections are still relevant, timely and valuable in the days in which we live. One of the daily reflections in his book is titled, The Joy of Play. In that reflection he writes, “The real joy of life is in its play. Play is anything we do for the joy and love of doing it, apart from any profit, compulsion, or sense of duty. It is the real living of life with the feeling of freedom and self-expression. Play is the business of childhood, and its continuation in later years is the prolongation of youth. Real civilization should increase the margin of time given to play.”

I like the last line of this quote about finding ways to “increase the margin of time given to play.” Maybe that is what Jesus was trying to give his disciples in the story recorded in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is encouraging his disciples to come away and find some rest.

These pandemic months have been tough on making time to play. Whatever ‘play’ looks like for you, may we increase the margin of time we give to it, knowing that a rhythm of work and rest and play was affirmed by Jesus and given to us by God at Creation. And if you live in Sun Prairie, you may have seen that in July Sun Prairie has been given the name ‘Fun Prairie.’ So, go have some fun!

Happy Playing,