Silence Part 8: Wendy Bray writes on the struggle to find space and time to be quiet.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed, 'Everyone is looking for you.' Mark 1
Children's author Jill Murphy has written a series of wonderful books featuring the Large family, who are, of course, elephants. In one story, entitled 'Five minutes' peace', Mrs Large does absolutely everything to escape from her brood of lively children, but finds that wherever she goes, even the bath, that 'five minutes' peace' eludes her.
These verses from Mark's Gospel always remind me of Mrs Large and her desperate search for peace. Jesus finds his solitary place but, very soon, so do his friends. They fail to appreciate his need for solitude and silence and tell him, 'Everyone is looking for you.' 'Doing' matters more than 'being' to Simon and co. Perhaps Jesus' early start reflects his recognition of Simon's very different priorities.
We may not be able to choose a time to be alone and quiet. The early morning hours may not be ideal (some of us are just not morning people) but most of us can find somewhere, at some time, to be quiet and alone with God. Half the battle may not be establishing a time or a place but helping our companions, at home or at work, to understand that this quiet time and place is important to us.
We're not told what Jesus said to Simon, but he had probably hoped that his friend would understand his need for prayer and solitude. It can seem odd to others that we choose to take time to be quiet and alone, but we shouldn't shirk from sharing simply what such times mean to us and why we want to make them a priority. In a noisy, fast-paced world, Christians may, as Lucy Winkett suggested, have something to say about the importance of silence and solitude. After all, it's not just Mrs Large who benefits from 'five minutes' peace'.
Taken from Day by Day with God, published by Bible Reading Fellowship, available to purchase from Eden.
March 14th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Ian Matthews