Rev Jane - July and August 2019
Post date: Sep 2, 2019 4:29:25 PM
Having spent almost 20 years as a primary school teacher in my previous working life, the six-week summer holiday was a treasured time to relax, recharge, regroup, and prepare for the rigours of the next academic year. A fortnight’s holiday to foreign parts was a chance for a much needed break as I immersed myself in a foreign culture – hopefully with some sunshine!
From the Gospels, we know that Our Lord periodically took Himself off to recharge both His physical and spiritual batteries, and to give Himself time to hear afresh the voice of God speaking to Him. Surely if Christ Himself felt the need to take time-out, how much more should we?
In the early days of Christianity, the Egyptian desert became the chosen place of retreat for those seeking to hear God’s voice. They wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of the distractions of the increasingly secular world, and focus on God. But the ‘distractions’ existing in those days were as nothing compared to those we experience today.
So, what do we have in place to recharge our spiritual batteries so we can live lives following in the footsteps of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour? Those early desert dwellers became well-known for their thoughts, recorded as ‘The Sayings of The Desert Fathers’, which over the distance of almost 2,000 years, still have much to say to us. The maxim they lived by was ‘Flee; be silent; pray always’ – and maybe this could be ours, too. We don’t have to go to the extreme of the Egyptian desert, but merely make determined efforts to take ‘time out’ so we can be with God in the silence of our hearts, with a prayer on our lips.
And so this summer, amid the frantic preparations for holidays and time away, may we make the effort to focus on our spiritual lives, and learn from the Desert Fathers: ‘Flee; be silent; pray always’.