We can so easily get lost in the constant demands of “doing” life and ministry that we develop habits of nonstop business and lose our sense of “being.” Then we wonder why we feel burned out, empty and isolated. We need to develop a dance of life in which we regularly disengage from life and get away with God for rest, renewal and re-creation. Then we are empowered to reengage once again in life and love with God and others.
My good friend, Keith Meyer, in his excellent book, “Spiritual Rhythms in Community” talks about the Trinitarian two-step dance of disengagement and engagement practiced by Jesus. His soul care rhythms involved the discipline of disengaging from life and ministry to be with the Father, then reengaging in ministry infused with the Father’s authority and power. Jesus’ ministry was the fruit of disengaging from life as usual in order to be alone and enriched by the Spirit and the Father.
Keith provides the following exercise as a guide to reflecting on these “Jesus Rhythms” and letting them inform your own life rhythms.
The Jesus Rhythms Exercise
Read from the selected passages that mention times Jesus goes into solitude (to lonely places, a garden, a boat, or a mountain) alone or with some of his disciples.
For context, read a few verses before and after the passage listed.
Luke 5:15-16; Luke 6:12-13; Luke 9:18; Luke 9:28
Matthew 14:23; Matthew 5:1
Mark 1:12-13; Mark 1:35-38; Mark 6:31-32; Mark 6:45-47
John 6:15; John 7:10
Notice how Jesus is often led by the Spirit to abruptly be alone with the Father, and then he reenters life with others full of the Spirit and the Father’s presence and power. Notice how after each night of formation in prayer, he went to be in community with his disciples and on mission in the temple and to the crowds.
Try to envision what Jesus may have been thinking, praying and doing during these times, keeping in mind the circumstances just before and after his time of solitude. Try to imagine what his disciples must have been thinking.
After reading the Scripture, use the following questions as a guide for reflection.
- What was Jesus’ practice of being with his Father like? What kind of effort did Jesus make to have it? When and where did he go? What did he do in those times?
- What was Jesus doing immediately before and after each of these times of solitude?
- What do these details suggest about what he may have been praying about and reflecting on? What might he have been bringing to the Father?
- What does this study suggest for your own life rhythms as you face the demands and pressures of your life?
- Did you identify the following rhythms?
- He would Rest (in God) then he would (be energized to) Act
- He would Receive (from God) then he would (be empowered to) Give
- He would Listen (to God) then he would (have a message to) Speak
Posted on February 16, 2016