Reflection on the Lectionary: Mark 6:30-34
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Reflection on the Lectionary: Mark 6:30-34
(July 19, 2009)

The passage relates, “The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.”
Jesus recognized that discipleship requires caring for our own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs; otherwise we risk “burn out,” which would make us unable to muster the energy to continue our work. How can we recuperate? Among numerous possible strategies, many people find that various forms of meditation help clear and calm the mind. Meditation can involve physical relaxation, and sometimes people meditate while engaging in relatively mindless tasks, such as gardening, knitting, or yoga. In particular, I recommend exercise, which is also good for the body.
Some forms of meditation help clear thoughts from the mind and can be quite invigorating. I also find it helpful to relax and then to contemplate those things that, in my busier, more agitated everyday existence, cause me stress or anxiety. In a relaxed state, I can address those concerns with a detachment that helps put things in perspective and helps me understand where those stressors come from, why I find them burdensome, and how I contribute to my own suffering.
Another effective strategy is to seek the company of like-minded people who share our concerns for animals and our recognition that a plant-based diet is a crucial component of good stewardship of God’s creation. Such fellowship is important, because we live among people who, struggling to resolve their own conflicting needs, desires, and fears, often say and do hurtful things. Indeed, I think that many people manifest hardness of heart when it comes to animal issues because they have been wounded by the trials and tribulations of life. Whatever the reason, their hardness of heart can demoralize those of us who care about animals. Therefore, however we do it, we must attend to our emotional and spiritual wounds if we are to be lifelong healers in a wounded world.

Go on to: Reflection on the Lectionary: 2 Samuel 11:1-15
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

Return to Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion