“He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”
When is the last time you were truly alone with God? Jesus’ entire ministry revolved around people: healing people, teaching people, valuing people, including people, and sending people. However, Jesus recognized the need to get away and be alone with God. Throughout the Gospels, we see him taking time to get away, be alone, and recharge. It is in those times when he is able to be equipped to perform great miracles like feeding five thousand. Being alone with God fills his cup so that he can pour out to others.
Christian writer Henri Nouwen says, “Solitude is very different from a ‘time-out’ from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other.” Our communal life is dependent on the quality of solitude and alone time we receive. In our solitude and alone time with God, we are able to reflect on our time in community. We are able to grow as we pray and read Scripture. Then we are equipped to go back into the community to love our neighbors. The cycle repeats itself over and over again.
Jesus was unapologetic about his need for rest and solitude. In our world that worships busy schedules, we often feel guilty about taking time to be alone, to recharge. Lent is an individual and communal journey. We are able to spend time alone with God and then come together to share about it. How are you doing spending time alone with God? How does your alone time equip you to be a better member of a community? How do your interactions in the world and in community call you back to time alone?
Loving God, we know that you are a God who models relationships for us. But you have also shown us the value and importance of being alone through your Son, Jesus Christ. Equip us in our solitude with you to be better witnesses for you in our communities. Call us to solitude when we need rest and rejuvenation in you. Amen.