Lent and a Daily Retreat
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
Jesus came to a little town by the Sea of Galilee, teaching and healing. He was a hit right away. A mini-revival was blowing through. The crowds wanted to keep Jesus there a long time. Available for them at all hours. Jesus had to get up before sunrise to be alone. To spend time with his Father. So to reconnect with his source. So to see himself and his calling more clearly. And to be renewed for the day in desire and strength. With clarity to see when and where he should go next. Even when staying put would have
A Sunday morning study we did a few years, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero, noted that Jesus was always disappointing people. Crowds who wanted more healing and freedom. His siblings who wanted him to carry out family obligations and do honorable work. Religious leaders who expected him to respect their traditions and offices.
He disappointed even John the Baptizer who expected X to change the world – right then. John sent a question from prison, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Corruption and cruelty continued to run the world. But Jesus answered that blind and deaf and sick were being healed, and hope was being proclaimed to the common man. “Blessed are those who are not offended by me,” he said.
Starting the day alone and quiet, Jesus could handle the disappointment of others. He could hold at bay their pressure to do what they thought he should. Because Jesus knew what his Father had sent him to do. He knew his true self. Stepping away, devoting a time and place to God, finding renewal in the Holy Spirit, listening for guidance – surely we need that just as much as the Savior did.
Lent calls us back to finding that place and time to focus and to renew that one thing that is most important. So that we keep in check the expectations of others, and the immediate desires of ourselves. So that we may never disappoint the one who knows and loves us best.