Mark 1:35; “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.”
Robert K. Greenleaf in Servant Leadership, writes about a two day seminar held by twelve ministers and theologians of all faiths and twelve psychiatrists of all faiths on the one-word theme of healing. The chair, a psychiatrist, opened the seminar with this question: “We are all healers. Why are we in this business?” Ten minutes of intense discussion followed and they we all agreed, “For our own healing, they said.”
We recognize that Jesus had a real busy day before he was able to rest. We can certainly appreciate the need to get up early and get off by himself for a while. Many of us may, and probably should, do something similar. We need to recharge our relationship with God, resettle our priorities, and get ready for what the coming day will bring. During the last eight months all of us have had loads that were heavy and often unexpected. While I was serving in the Virginia Conference I had an opportunity to be a guest at a Trappist monastery. It was on a 2500 acre place along the Shenandoah River with walking paths, seclusion, and plenty of ways to be alone when needed. All rooms were single with private baths, meals were communal, [very good too], and opportunities for worship began at 4:45 AM; and there were five different experiences per day. I spent Monday noon through Friday morning there, and I loved it.
While it’s true that it was not really deserted, there were plenty of opportunities to be alone with a good book from the fairly extensive library, walking over the meadows, sitting by the river, or staying in your room. When you wanted company, it was easily found. I was refreshed, recharged, and reenergized. I am sure the congregation recognized the positive effect of that time away. As we think about how things are going, we all know that some form of new normal is not coming right away. We need to spend some time getting in touch with God, again and again. I want to suggest that does not require us to go through a list of activities on a regular basis. Maybe just getting where the chaos is muted will help us heal a bit. Because we will be better able to address the healing needs of our brothers and sisters if we address our own as well.
When the church of Jesus shuts its outer door,
Lest the roar of traffic drown the voice of prayer,
May our prayers, Lord, make us ten times more aware
That the world we banish is our Christian care.
You have been in communion with your Lord. Go forth now in the strength and assurance that the Lord Jesus Christ goes with you. Amen,
Pastor David Brosnan