Mark 1:29-39 (NRSV)
Verse 29As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Verse 30Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. Verse 31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
Verse 32That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. Verse 33And the whole city was gathered around the door. Verse 34And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. Verse 35In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. Verse 36And Simon and his companions hunted for him. Verse 37When they found him, they said to him, "Everyone is searching for you." Verse 38He answered, "Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do." Verse 39And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
Jesus was tired. Loving others surfaces a rainbow of emotions and tests our endurance. Or, perhaps Jesus needed to practice his daily prayer discipline. Jesus sought solitude. A common mantra for retreat ministry is “A Place Apart to Come Together.” A staff member at Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp coined a phrase to define campers’ time apart, calling it “Sacred Silence”—campers were to find a spot alone by Beaver Creek, under a Ponderosa Pine, or on a boulder overlooking the Mummy Range. They were given a phrase to repeat, “Holy Jesus, speak to me of your Truth.” Pause. Listen. Repeat. Pause. Listen. Repeat. Thirty minutes of solitude and prayer.
We live in the age of the 24 hour news cycle. Now add Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. We have iPhones and iPads. We are forever connected, influenced and bombarded! Space is lost amidst the deluge. Silence seems an enemy. Into this cacophony, Jesus gives us a way forward: Go to a place apart and come together with me.
Jesus of solitude, as I walk, bike, run, hike, or sit on a bench, speak to me of your Truth. Amen.