Epiphany- Day 32
Psalm 147:1-11 The Message
Hallelujah! It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God;
praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.
God’s the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
who regathers Israel’s scattered exiles.
He heals the heartbroken
and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
and assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
and pushes the wicked into the ditch.
Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn,
play music on your instruments to God,
Who fills the sky with clouds,
preparing rain for the earth,
Then turning the mountains green with grass,
feeding both cattle and crows.
He’s not impressed with horsepower;
the size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God’s attention;
they can depend on his strength.
Mark 1:29-39 TNIV
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
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!”
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
CONSIDER THIS. . .
This story about Jesus getting up early and finding a quiet place to pray has been cited for centuries as the normative practice for all who want to be his followers. In the recent decades this practice has become ubiquitously known as the “quiet time.” And this is all great if we remember what it is for.
The challenge is the way such a practice becomes so routinized that it becomes a rut, a motion disconnected from the Mystery. We faithfully read our bibles, do our devotions , say our prayers and check it off the list and then we are on to the business of the day. The quiet time mentality can easily foster a compartmentalization of our walk with God. Even worse, it can foster a type of “if-then” thinking. If I have my quiet time, God will be with me. If I do not have my quiet time, God will not be with me. When this happens we can be sure that our discipline has ironically disconnected us from our discipleship.
Jesus gives us an insight into his seamless way of walking with God in John’s Gospel account. Speaking to the religious leaders one day, in defense of a miracle he performed on the Sabbath, he said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” In another place he said something to the effect of, “I only say what I hear my Father saying.”
This is what those early mornings on the hillsides of Caperneum must have been about.Let’s call it “deep attunement.” These frequent times in solitary places show us something of what is required to live a seamless life of deep attunement to the Father. When we live this way, quiet time ceases to be another discipline to get done today. When we walk through our days with deep attunement to the Holy Spirit not only do we “hear” more and “see” more, but our lives become sources of seeing and hearing for others. This is what a means of grace aspires to be for us, not another duty to fulfill but a dynamic place of life in the Spirit.