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Quiet words and silent sentences
In the lonely places
Listen to these words: quiet, lonely, restful, stillness, silence, contemplation, solitude.
Quiet words taking the form of silent sentences. These are what I had been missing? And too often these are what I am yet missing today. Just reading these words, in connection with Jesus, gives my heart peace. Only in Jesus, does the quiet place, the lonely place, become a place of safety and security; a place of love and growth; a place where confidence and strength is gained. Without Jesus, the quiet, lonely place is only dark, cold and lonely.
Jesus went to His lonely place with His Father. Jesus declared that He is One with His Father. Jesus promised that He is also one with those Father has given Him; His believing followers. Therefore…because Jesus and I are one…in Jesus…Father and I are one and there is holy fellowship in the Spirit. Not in the sense of equality, but one in the sense of fellowship, communion, family. Jesus came to show the world what being the family of God encompasses.
Quiet words and silent sentences…the speaking of the heart to the Father in the Spirit. Silently bringing the restfulness of the Spirit to the soul. The “real” quiet, “real” silence which belongs to the Spirit of the Living God.
In this age of – networking – action – doing – distracting excitement –continual, moving drama/adventure…Jesus’ action appears to be a let down. Jesus got up…He left the house…and prayed.
What?! That’s it! He prayed!
Today we are enculturated to expect action – indeed, to even demand it. To “do” something – anything…is the cultural battle cry. Yet, Jesus, powerful Lord of all; He, through whom all was created, the powerful, creative, all-encompassing Word of God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth…left the house…left the action. He not only did Jesus leave while it was still dark; He left alone. No entourage, alone. Jesus left the place of action, accomplishment, fame, popularity; Purposefully seeking out the lonely, quiet, solitary place.
Lonely in this account does not give the sense of bereft of soul, hopeless. Jesus sought this, purposefully, setting out to attain this place of loneliness…no people, no distractions, no sensation seekers, just Father…only Father, to fully fill His heart, mind and senses with.
Always we will see that Humanity seeks the center. Whereas Jesus sought the lonely fringe places. Jesus was always walking away from the center. Do we?
The only time Jesus sought the center was…when He steadfastly and with holy determination sought the Cross. Even then, Jesus did so in obedience, submission to Father…for our benefit…for Father’s glory.
What do we seek? For whose benefit do we seek it? And for whose glory? …Selah
Wow, hard questions if we were to be rock bottom honest. Humanity wants to say the ‘me’ in me is dead, but both God and we know it is not. In our depraved soul/self there is only darkness and death, and the self-seeking, self-deceptive, self-defeating ‘me.’ There must be recognition, confession, acknowledgement of this truth, while it is yet still dark.
Do not be afraid to get up…leave the companions of darkness…leave the house, the place of the world…seek the solitary place…seek Jesus, seek Father.
Father can only be found in and through Jesus. Go where Jesus is – which is not in the common house of the world. It’s the taking of ourselves up and away from: world expectations; world accomplishments, world ideals that are not ideals at all, but a hunger, grab for fame, power, riches, selfishness, with no room for love, for others, for selflessness in this.
Out of the four gospels recorded, the Gospel of Mark is the most action packed gospel. Too often it is the action that holds our attention, our fascination. Yet Mark wanted that the reader would to be arrested by verses like Mark 1:35. (In the morning, while it was still very dark, He [Jesus] got up and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayer.)
There in the middle of all the action and excitement – is quietness. The action looked upon with awe –all that power and authority. Yet the real power, the real authority lies in the quiet communion with God. These privileged in these interludes with God Jesus had that which aught to hold our attention, our fascination.
Do we want exciting action or do we want to see God?
Do we want to hear applause and adulation or do we want to hear God?
God has made Himself available, do we want to seek Him?
It is up to us to get up…leave the place of comfort and self-delusion – and go – seek God…listen and commune, to pray. Be comforted and strengthened by this restful insight from Henri Nouwen’s book “Out of Solitude” regarding Mark 1:35,
“The more I read this nearly silent sentence locked in between the loud words of action, the more I have the sense that the secret of Jesus is hidden in that lonely place where He went to pray, early in the morning, long before dawn.” (pgs 13/14)
© 2010 UlrikeGrace