Every year the ecumenical group here hosts a Prayer Breakfast on Holy Wednesday. My church hosted, I lead the prayer service. I read a piece from Urban T. Holmes’s Spirituality for Ministry (third and fourth paragraph on this page) and closed our little prayer service with encouraging those gathered to take time to find silence and talk to God during what is one of the busiest weeks of the Christian year.
The challenge was, “Christ went off the pray by himself because he needed to. You are no better than Christ, you also need to find your time alone with God.”
Good message, I thought. Everyone needs to breathe during Holy Week and God wants an active relationship with us as much during Holy Week as any other week.
Then I came home. And the mountain of tasks I had to complete – or could be completing and not putting off – stared at me. It was Holy Week, I had that magical approval to complete a PIF and make the final strides toward ordination, and because of life and tasks the house was a total disaster. There were things that needed doing.
Giselle, bless her heart, was having none of it. It was sunny and beautiful out, she had been cooped up inside so much over the past few months, and she could be outside and not inside, enjoying the sun more than our windows allow. Typically she isn’t awfully demanding but that day she would not relent.
So outside we went. She sat in the sun, I sat on a chair, and I just stopped: stopped thinking, stopped doing, stopped talking. I let the sun hit my face, the warm air calm me, and I just enjoyed the moment, listening for God to tell me something.
God told me nothing other than to rest. He didn’t have a message for me, a direction for me, or a task for me other than to rest. As I would feel guilty for not doing anything, I would hear a voice telling me to stop feeling guilty and continue to rest. My phone went off, I responded, and I felt guilty responding and doing work instead of resting.
God gave me opportunity and means to rest, and I finally took it.
15 News of him spread even more and huge crowds gathered to listen and to be healed from their illnesses. 16 But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places for prayer. – Luke 5:15-16 CEB
I’m not better than Jesus, I’m not stronger than Jesus, I need to withdraw and pray, even if it is just right outside the door, looking at the dog sun herself while I just sit still, no noise or distraction.
I hope that you can find your moments to participate in the hermit’s discipline, even if it just moments.