And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
Mark 6:30-13 (King James Version)
One of the few TV shows I sit and watch is NBCs Revolution. For those who don’t know the plot, it takes place 15 years after a global power failure sends us back into a pre-industrial world. Cities are abandoned, militias vie for power, new communities are formed, and humanity has to live without the toys it once enjoyed.
If one were to look at recent pop culture, he/she would find that we have a fascination with stories dealing with a post-civilization, post-technological world (and such stories quite popular). Why? With all the “wonders” of the modern era at our disposal, we would thought that Star Trek would be the more popular despite its popularity. However, there are times when the “modern” age can grow on you: in-your-face social media, 24-7 TV offering hundreds of channels for every genre, cell phones keeping you tied to the rest of the community, and constant surveillance by the powers that be. Texting, tweeting, Instagramming, twerking, sexting…the list is endless. Even as a photographer, I see the thoughtfulness that once even went into a simple snapshot is taken over by the on-the-fly mobile photography. And despite the ease of e-books, we’re pondering a future of less and less bookstores.
Not that I’m advocating going back to pre-industrial civilization, or that some catastrophe gets us there. However, in reading and watching post-technological fiction, I find some interesting common themes: use of one’s wits and common sense to survive; a return to community (yes and tribalism); having to become imaginative and inventive again; a sense of humility in regards to the greater universe since there is no technology to “protect” those involved; people becoming more involved and engaged in the simplest of tasks; a return to spirituality (even if it contained superstitious elements) and a healthy celebration of life=especially in places where life and living are fragile and tenuous.
Despite what one may say to the contrary, it is the above themes that make us human beings. Our sense of togetherness, engagement, commonsensical living, being present in our world, spirituality, celebrating life, and respect for the Universe. We didn’t depend on the latest gadget or whatever; we had each other.
In today’s Scripture text, Jesus’ disciples came back to him, telling him about their work they did. In response, Jesus told them to come with him to a desert place to rest since the disciples didn’t have the luxury of eating. Jesus took his disciples to a place (by ship) where they can rest, recharge, and probably fellowship together. Who’s not to say if that is what God wants for us today? Maybe we need to unplug from “civilization” and take time to go back to basic human qualities. We need to step back from it all and rediscover ourselves this Lenten Season. Maybe take on less social media for a day, or “fast” from it for a day. Turn off the TV and turn on to our neighbor. Maybe shutting off one’s computer and reading an actual book…
Or just shutting things off for a while and rest with the Divine and each other in full fellowship.
Maybe we need to “come apart” for Lent in order to come together.