At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Jesus was deeply connected IN towards community, OUT towards mission, and UP towards God (see diagram below). In the past two days we’ve looked at the IN and OUT connections. Today we look UP.
After spending time with his friends at one of their family’s homes and then doing ministry late into the evening, Jesus slips out early to be alone. He finds a “solitary place” - which is another translation of the Greek word most often rendered “wilderness” or “desert.” Silence and solitude were Jesus’s friends, because in their company he was renewed in his relationship with the One he called Father.
Do you escape to quiet, secluded places? Do you sneak in time alone with God on a lunch break, while the kids are napping, or just sitting in your car in silence for a minute before getting out and going on to the next thing? The 20th century mystic and teacher, Henri Nouwen, put it this way: “We have to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gently healing presence of our Lord.”
Where is your desert? What wilderness might you cultivate, for just a few moments alone? Sometimes the silence there can be deafening, and yet without it, it’s just about impossible to find God. Even now for a brief moment, see if you can enter into that ‘solitary space’ to be with God.