O72102212 – Mark 6. 30-34, 53-56
It was the Scottish poet and lyricist, “the Ploughman Poet,” “The National Bard,” or “the Bard of Ayrshire” also known as, Robert Burns, who wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men … often go awry.”
The words of “Auld Lang Syne” are also attributed to Burns … (just so you know.)
No matter how much YOU plan, there are NO guarantees of success…
Life just NEVER turns out – the way we had anticipated or expected it to.
So, Robert Burns authored a poem.
He entitled it, “To A Mouse.”
In this poem, a MOUSE has spent a lot of time making a NEST, and a young man by the name of “Robbie” DESTROYS IT – while PLOUGHING his field.
The purpose of the poem is to “APOLOGIZE to the mouse.”
Robbie understands that this mouse has put “A LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT” into his nest and he had it DESTROYED by the farmer who had to plough his field.
In this poem, the poet is feeling GUILTY about RUINING ALL THE HARD WORK of the mouse and wants to MAKE IT CLEAR that he’s SORRY for EVERYTHING he has done.
Poets just may be some of the STRANGEST and MOST CREATIVE people you will ever meet or come to know.
But believe me when I say there is usually “a METHOD to their madness.”
I am sure that many will be wondering why Burns would use a MOUSE to talk about HUMAN BEINGS?
Why would a successful, talented, and well-known NATIONAL poet, choose “that metaphor?”
The fact is – that human beings are animals too.
And it does not matter if you are a mouse, a farmer, a king, or the President of the United States, life can be filled with uncertainty. Things can and will go awry sometimes.
Things do not always go as WE have planned.
And no matter WHO YOU ARE, there will be times when your HARD WORK and EFFORT does not pay off, as we thought it would.
And therefore, this poem. “The BEST LAID PLANS of mice and men…often GO AWRY!”
The word “AWRY” which seems a little bit archaic, simply means “away from the appropriate,” “the planned” or “the expected course.” Awry, amiss, not right, askew.
And that is precisely what we have going on in our Gospel text for this evening…
This evening’s Gospel text describes the tension in which we live. Jesus and his disciples lived with the same tension to…
You make plans, and SOMETHING HAPPENS to change or alter or interrupt your plans.
We even joke about it: “You want to make God smile, go ahead and plan something!”
The disciples are here called “APOSTLES” for the first and ONLY TIME in Mark’s gospel. The word “apostle” means “one sent out.”
They just returned from their first missionary journey. So, they were telling Jesus everything they taught and did.
That is when Jesus said, “Come away to a deserted place ALL BY YOURSELVES and rest a while.”
He made plans. They made plans. And together they ASSUMED those plans would happen…and be carried out.
They have their EXPECTATIONS for a little R&R.
A boat ride across the lake will take them to their quiet, peaceful destination…where they can ALL CHILL OUT and REST…and let their hair down.
Or so they HOPED.
Or so they THOUGHT.
Or so they had ANTICIPATED…
Their plans however were INTERRUPTED by the many, many people who ran ahead of them, to meet them as soon as their boat landed on the “other side.”
Their EXPECTATIONS were left UNMET. All that they hoped for, anticipated, and thought about, was changed in a moment of time.
And that is the way that life is…
For Jesus and the twelve, on this given day, there was no time for rest, no quiet, no time for leisure. The needs of the crowds far exceeded their need for a “LITTLE R&R.”
All they could see was this great crowd of people, who kept coming and coming…bringing with them all of their sick and all the lame.
ALL – in need of healing. And Jesus had compassion on them.
And he attempted to teach his compassionate nature to the twelve.
Sometimes, your plans do need to be interrupted.
And it will be ok.