As I’m starting to prepare for Laetare Sunday, I ran across the following quotation from John Chrysostom on John 6:3:
He went up onto the mountain because of the miracle he was going to do. The disciples alone ascended with him which implies that the people who stayed behind were at fault for not following. He went up to the mountain too as a lesson to us to retire from the tumult and confusion of the world. For solitude is appropriate for the study of wisdom. Jesus often went up alone onto a mountain in order to pray, even spending the night there. He did this in order to teach us that the one who will come most near to God must be free from all disturbance and must seek times and places away from all the confusion.1
Solitude is not something that comes naturally to me. I long for it. I desire it deeply. But between church and family and other obligations, taking time to sit and meditate on God’s Word and study wisdom, well, that is low on my task list of things to do.
Why is that? One would think that meditating on God’s Word would be high on the list of things for a pastor. Aren’t I given to teach the Word of God to my people, in season and out of season? Yes I am.
But there is something about life today that does not include solitude. Maybe it’s the constant-connectedness of the interweb world. I am certainly guilty of that. Maybe it is the desire to cram STUFF into every nook and cranny of time. I don’t know. But one thing is for sure: there isn’t much solitude happening around here.
Is solitude important to you? How do you guard your time so that it can happen?
1. Elowsky, J. C. (2006). John 1-10. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture NT 4a (210). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.