Strength from Solitude
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." Mark 6:30-31 (NRSV)
Sharon Mitchell, from Georgia, loves her job teaching seventh grade, but it is quite demanding. All day she deals with students' needs and questions: "May I get some water?" "May I go to the nurse?" "I don't understand number three." Between classes, she has meetings, parent conferences, and endless photocopying. It is an honor to teach, but sometimes Sharon needs a few quiet moments to herself to pray, or to think and regroup.
Some people do not enjoy being alone, but a little solitude can provide an opportunity to reconnect with our spiritual life. Jesus asked the disciples to come away with him to rest and to escape the crowds. He knew that solitude would renew them.
Jesus was a healer and also a teacher. As he traveled and taught, the crowds were relentless in following him, asking him to teach, perform miracles, and heal. He used solitude to talk to God and renew his strength.
Solitude is not something to be dreaded or feared. It is an important time to rest, pray, and renew our spirits. As Jesus said, "Come with me...and get some rest."
I pray that during this time of isolation and separation, you have taken time to rest and renew your spiritual life. As we begin to be more active and start to mingle, let us not forget lessons learned - that we need time alone with God and to renew our spirits. Let us be more aware of each others needs and respect for their space; let's continue to keep our distances as safety requires.
A note that the First UMC of Gulfport will remain closed thru June 15th, but you can still keep in touch with us by phone and by social media.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for moments of solitude to connect with You. May we seek such moments often, in Jesus' name, amen.