Tonight, I would like to continue speaking about solitude.
Last week I spoke about the Lenten discipline of solitude and I will continue that topic for this evening.
First, let’s consider that very word.
The word solitude refers to one being alone or one being separated from others.
The word can also refer to a lonely place.
Now ever since the time of Jesus people have sought out silence and solitude in order to draw closer to God.
But as I was saying last week in my message, this Lent this discipline is taking on new meaning because of the current situation that we are in right now.
Right now, we have to separate ourselves from others in order to protect ourselves and our neighbors.
And so, I have been thinking a lot about how social distancing can impact the spiritual discipline of taking time for quiet and for solitude in order to deepen our union with God.
One thing that I have done now for many, many years is to read about the spiritual lives of Christians from history.
When you read about the life stories of Christians from the past you will discover time and time again that they all had a deep need for solitude and for quiet and for stillness.
In the Gospels we find Jesus seeking out solitude and quiet space for prayer.
Maybe the most well-known reading from the Bible, on Jesus seeking solitude, comes from the Gospel of Mark.
Here Jesus has just been about the work of healing people and ministering to others.
Then while it is still very early Jesus seeks out a place of solitude to be in prayer to God.
In the Bible it does not say what Jesus said to God in that place of solitude.
We do not know how he prayed and what he said to God but we do know that it must have been a heartfelt, intimate prayer to his heavenly father.
There in the solitude and quiet Jesus pours out his prayers to God.
I wonder now how this particular scripture reading could speak to us at this time.
Do you find yourself at this time spending much of your day either watching television or on your phone?
It is tempting to use this time to fill up the space with noise and activity.
Now we need to connect with each other.
I am grateful for this technology of Facebook Live so I can share a Lenten message with you all right now.
But what I am saying is this… can we use some of the time that we now have in order to deepen our connection with God.
We need to be staying home right now and creating that space of solitude in our lives.
Can we use a portion of the time that we now have for quiet prayer?
Can we step away to a quiet place in the house and pour our hearts out to God in prayer?
The challenge here is not getting God to talk, for God is always speaking.
The challenge here is in learning how to listen.
Intentionally taking time for quiet and for solitude is one way we can cultivate the spiritual awareness to hear the voice of God in our lives.
Solitude can be a blessing when it becomes a window into God’s very self.
May you find a way to use this time of social distancing to quiet your mind and your heart in order to listen to God more fully.
May we use this time to deepen our ability to hear the voice of God in our lives.