“In the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus went to a deserted place to pray.”
No one can call Jesus a slacker. Mark describes Jesus’ day (Mark 1:21-34) as involving teaching, healing, and spending time with friends. But, in the early hours of the morning, he slips away for prayer and meditation, perhaps, pondering the immensity of universe along with his vocation as healer and teacher.
Solitude can be healing. In stillness, we are renewed and refreshed. We experience what Herbert Benson described as the “relaxation response,” a holistic sense of wellness that is reflected in our cells as well as our soul. No longer dominated by stress, busyness, and the fight or flight response, we can inhale the beauty of the earth, experience calm, and awaken to divine wisdom flowing in and through us.
Solitude rests body, mind, and spirit and prepares us for the next steps of the adventure. In the midst of his prayers, Jesus is interrupted by his disciples. Their anxiety contrasts with his calm. (1:36-37) Matthew’s gospel says that the people of the city wanted him to stay. (Matthew 4:42) But, from silence came a sense of vocation. Jesus needed to follow his dream and calling, leaving the familiar and going forth to new lands. In the language of family systems theory, Jesus found a quiet center which enabled him to be differentiated from his disciples and the townspeople, that is, he had a vision that he followed while staying in relationship.
Do you have a quiet place or a sacred space? Do you have a holy moment – a set aside time for prayer and meditation? In the midst of the busyness, when everything is changing, we can be still and know that God is with us. (Psalm 46:10)
I take time to listen to God’s voice in my life.
God is constantly speaking to and through me.
I am always connected with divine wisdom and love.
On Friday, we will focus on: the healing power of discovering “God is on your side.”
Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, healing companion, retreat leader and lecturer, and author of nineteen books, including Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living; God’s Touch: Faith, Wholeness, and the Healing Miracles of Jesus; and Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry. He has taught at Georgetown University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is currently theologian in residence at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His most recent book Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed will be released in May 2011. He can be reached for lectures, seminars, and retreats at firstname.lastname@example.org