Alone Together


This is an excerpt from Eugene Peterson’s Earth and Altar.  Notice the two ways he suggest we can connect to the true help that God gives for a daily life.  He says we need to “Behold” and “Be Still”:


Two commands direct us from the small-minded world of self-help to the large world of God's help. First, "Come, behold the works of the Lord." Take a long, scrutinizing look at what God is doing. This requires patient attentiveness and energetic concentration. Everybody else is noisier than God. The headlines and neon lights and amplifying systems of the world announce human works. But what of God's works? They are unadvertised but also inescapable, if we simply look. They are everywhere. They are marvelous. But God has no public relations agency. He mounts no publicity campaign to get our attention. He simply invites us to look …


The second command is "Be still, and know that I am God." Be still. Quit rushing through the streets long enough to become aware that there is more to life than your little self-help enterprises. When we are noisy and when we are hurried, we are incapable of intimacy—deep, complex, personal relationships. If God is the living center of redemption, it is essential that we be in touch with and responsive to that personal will. If God has a will for this world and we want to be in on it, we must be still long enough to find out what it is (for we certainly are not going to learn by watching the evening news). Baron von Hugel, who had a wise word on most subjects, always held out that "nothing was ever accomplished in a stampede."


This Sunday we’re going to be talking about solitude—the next of the 12 monthly disciplines that our teens are practicing.


We’ll see that solitude is about more than just being by yourself in a room, especially in this age of constant internet access.  Even when we are alone, we aren’t.  (And even when we are with others, we can be alone.)


Solitude is something different.  It’s deliberately withdrawing from other connections (even the ones that are good) and connecting to God.  In the Bible, solitude is often precedes a message from God.