In the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, around about verse 35,
you can spy Jesus in a brief moment all alone. Here it is, the first
chapter of Mark and Jesus has already been very busy. Then:
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out
to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
It is a tender image and I urge you to draw your own mental picture.
Draw a real picture, if that helps. See Jesus as you wish. Is he
kneeling, like the old painting one sees of a white, bearded Jesus
with flowing brown hair (by Heinrich Hoffman, 1880)? Add some detail
to your image. It is morning and it is "still very dark." Perhaps
your image has this man walking in the early dew, feet getting a
little damp while he walks. He could have found his way to a rise, a
little hill, from which he could see out a bit. They were in
Capernaum, a town on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, so a view would
have been a water view.
We have a story of how Jesus taught his disciples, and taught us by
extension, to pray. In our 1611 prose we say, "Our Father which art
in heaven, hallowed be thy name."
We have a story of how Jesus prayed in that dimly lit garden just
before he was arrested, saying, "Father, if you are willing, take
this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
How would he have prayed that morning in Capernaum?
Make a prayer like you think Jesus might have prayed alone at dawn by
the Sea of Galilee. Make it as long or short as you wish.
This story is your story. You don't really need the model of Jesus
to tell how a few minutes to yourself early in the day can be a
precious time. For some of you, doing a little chore or two before
the rest of the house is stirring can be satisfying and useful. Some
of you will know the rewards of getting to work before anyone else
and having time to do some work in that silence.
In a physiological way, you know that there is a difference between
prayer and not prayer. I suggest to you that there is a unique
experience open to us when we "take a moment" and experience taking a
moment. A chore done in the silence of the morning is good but it is
different from stopping the doing, the reading, the eating, the
organizing, and the other important tasks of life. Stopping for a
brief time and noticing that you have stopped is very close to prayer.
Would you take that moment today? … and tomorrow? Take the moment
to notice the moment and in that moment, turn your regard to the holy
place where you find or you guess or you hope the Spirit waits to be
noticed. Just like Jesus.
Peace and Blessing,