The Gift of Solitude

Lemuel NierePastors CornerLeave a Comment

A great weekend waits for us. The Sabbath is coming and with it the opportunity to worship and commune with God on His holy day; and to fellowship with the “saints” who, far from being perfect, strive by God’s grace to be obedient and committed to Him. After all, its not about who has the less sins, but who has more mercy and grace to give to others. If our church can have more “Barnabases” (Son of Encouragement),  it will neutralize any bastardly “Barrabases” in our midst!
This Sabbath, AWESNA will be sponsoring our services from Sabbath School to Hour of Worship. We will have many guests coming and let us warmly welcome them. Of course I would like to reiterate again my appeal to make Sabbath really special by coming early to church. Our Filipino Service at 8:15am is a good place to practice coming to church early. The Sabbath hours don’t belong to us so let’s not steal any of its precious hours for self. 
Sabbath afternoon at 3pm there will be two events going simultaneously. The Quilting Ministry and our Pathfinders will be giving out quilts to patients at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center. AY Sabbath afternoon hike led by Vernon Gayares at Trail Canyon Falls. Be sure to dress appropriately for the hike. 
The Southern California Conference will be hosting a Pathfinder Fair on Sunday. Come and support our Pathfinder Club!
On Sabbath, April 28, Jaime Jorge will be our guest artist. He will be sharing God’s Word and play his violin during the worship hour. Please invite your family and friends for this musical Sabbath experience.
We are studying the 28 Fundamental Beliefs in a Christocentric approach with Pastor Lem leading out. We invite you to attend and participate in the quizzes and asking questions. Next session is May 5 at 1:30pm.
In the news:
“I was too scared to go home and the police came to the hospital to talk to me. Many people were helping me find a safe place to live, and I knew it was Jesus.”  Annahita Parsan, a Muslim in Sweden, who fled from her abusive husband and ended up in a hospital, where she realized that Jesus was calling her. Since then she has influenced nearly 1,500 Muslims to accept Christ. – Christian Headlines.
Americans for whom religion is very important:
Jews                    39%
Catholics            68%
Protestants        76%
Muslims             80%
Mormons           85%
All Americans   65%
We are having a great weekend, and you are a great part in making it a spiritually invigorating experience. Come and worship with us! God’s exhaustless blessings be yours.
Pastor Lem
We continue our devotional series on the Celebration of Discipline. Much of the presentations is based on the book by that name written by Richard J. Foster.
Jesus calls us from loneliness to solitude. The fear of being alone paralyzes people. Our fear of being alone drives us to noise and crowds. So many have their ears plugged to a chord that is connected to their cellphones so they can listen to a constant barrage of noise in the form of music or whatever. T.S. Eliot analyzes our culture well when he writes, “Where shall the world be found, where will the word resound? Not here, there is not enough silence.”
Solitude is more a state of mind and heart than it is a place. There is a solitude of the heart that can be maintained at all times. Crowds, or the lack of them, have little to do with this inward attentiveness. It is quite possible to be a desert hermit and never experience solitude. But if we possess inward solitude we do not fear being alone, for we know that we care not alone. Neither do we fear being with others, for they do not control us. In the midst of noise and confusion we are settled into a deep inner silence. Whether alone or among people, we always carry with us a portable sanctuary of the heart.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together titled one of his chapters “The Day Together” and the following “The Day Alone.” Both are essential for spiritual success. He writes, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community….Let him who is not in community beware of being alone…Each by itself has profound pitfalls and perils. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair.”
What are some steps into solitude? The first thing we can do is to take advantage of the “little solitudes” that fill our day. Consider the solitude of those early morning moments in bed before the family awakens. There is the solitude of bumper-to-bumper traffic during rush hour. Slip outside just before bed and taste the silent night. These tiny snatches of time are often lost to us. They are little moments that help us to be genuinely present where we are.
What else can we do? We can find or develop a “quiet place” designed for silence and solitude. Have an inner sanctuary in your home where you can go to find solace in prayer and study.
Let’s discipline ourselves so that our words are few and full. Let’s become known as people who have something to say when we speak! Let’s maintain plain speech: do what we say we will do. “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” (Eccl. 5:5).
The fruit of solitude is increased sensitivity and compassion for others. There comes a new freedom to be with people. There is new attentiveness to their needs, new responsiveness to their hurts. Thomas Merton observes, “It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers and sisters. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them… Solitude and silence teach me to love my brethren for what they are, not for what they say.”
Don’t you feel a tug, a yearning to sink down into the silence and solitude of God?  It is the discipline of solitude that will open the door. You are welcome to come in and “listen to God’s speech in His wondrous, terrible, gentle, loving, all-embracing silence.”

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