Faithlife Sermons

Restoring the Soul

Year B, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 3 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Fear of Loneliness

Fear of Loneliness

By nature we human beings are social animals. We thrive in the presence of others. Groups that function well produce a synergistic effect among the member, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. They accomplish more working together than they ever could working in isolation from one another. Many of the desert mothers and fathers who sought the solitude of the wilderness struggled with emotional and psychological disorders after years living alone. The movement from the hermits living in isolation to formation of monasteries illustrates that people need others, even the Olympians of the spiritual life.

By nature we human beings are social animals. We thrive in the presence of others. Groups that function well produce a synergistic effect among the member, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. They accomplish more working together than they ever could working in isolation from one another. Many of the desert mothers and fathers who sought the solitude of the wilderness struggled with emotional and psychological disorders after years living alone. The movement from the hermits living in isolation to formation of monasteries illustrates that people need others, even the Olympians of the spiritual life.

Fear of Loneliness

By nature we human beings are social animals. We thrive in the presence of others. Groups that function well produce a synergistic effect among the member, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. They accomplish more working together than they ever could working in isolation from one another. Many of the desert mothers and fathers who sought the solitude of the wilderness struggled with emotional and psychological disorders after years living alone. The movement from the hermits living in isolation to formation of monasteries illustrates that people need others, even the Olympians of the spiritual life.
By nature we human beings are social animals. We thrive in the presence of others. Groups that function well produce a synergistic effect among the member, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. They accomplish more working together than they ever could working in isolation from one another. Many of the desert mothers and fathers who sought the solitude of the wilderness struggled with emotional and psychological disorders after years living alone. The movement from the hermits living in isolation to formation of monasteries illustrates that people need others, even the Olympians of the spiritual life.
People do not often seek solitude because they confuse it with loneliness. The latter is a disease of the soul in which a person my feel unloved, unaccepted, and unwanted. Living in loneliness drains the soul of life and energy. Sorrow haunts the heart. An emptiness plagues the soul.
Solitude is so much different. It is the experience of thriving. It is the time to honestly reflect on who you are, what is your calling and the meaning of your life’s goals. Solitude is not on most people’s Priority list of spiritual practices. Solitude is most often confused with being alone and loneliness. However, solitude restores, replenishes, renews the soul. It is a time of healing. A time to be alone with God. it removes the distractions of the external world allowing the pilgrim to reflect on their inner being.
Solitude is often avoided because of our fear of loneliness. How often do parents hear, “Nobody wants to play with me!” An elderly woman sits in a chair in her living room waiting for someone to come and visit her. A young man who has just moved to a big city, sits alone in front of a TV. The fear of being alone frightens us.
Our fear of being alone will drive us to seek out people just to fill the air with some noise. We want to hear people talking or laughing. Silence is uncomfortable.
Solitude is as necessary as air, water, and sunlight to a meaningful life. Jesus sought it out at critical times in his ministry.

Jesus Seeks Solitude

Mark tells us that Jesus began his ministry in the Capernaum synagogue. We are so fortunate to have much of that ancient building in tack. After his baptism, Jesus knew that he must begin his earthly ministry. Notice how he waited for the Sabbath to start his teaching ministry. This was a logical opportunity. People would be receptive to hearing him expound the Scripture. So many evangelism projects are ill fated because they do not wait for the right opportunity. They force the situation and sometime force the message. Jesus waited for the right moment.
We are also told that from the moment Jesus entered the building a he had been having a running dialog with a demon. I can appreciate his struggle. I have entered a few churches and had some running dialogues with Presbyterian elders that did not go very well. The dialog that Jesus had with that demon went much better. On the word of Jesus, the demon cried out and came out the man. This stunned the congregation who had gathered for worship. I can imagine the buzz that created.
Leaving the synagogue Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew. If you are ever in Israel you can visit this also. It just so happens to be right next door to the synagogue. Once inside Jesus finds Peter’s mother-in-law asleep. Families in ancient Israel relied upon the extended family living together and all the members sharing duties and responsibilities. We briefly enjoyed this after our girls graduated from college. They spent a brief period living with us and helping with chores until they decided on their next step.
Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. One might assume that Jesus was exhausted from teaching and casting out the demon but he demonstrates that he still has sufficient energy and power to heal. I am not surprised by her reaction to the healing. Mark tells us she rose from her bed and began to serve her guests. I do not think that she did it from obligation but rather from gratitude. Her example serves as a fitting model to the spiritual life. We do not perform deeds of service from obligation but from gratitude.
As soon as the Sabbath ended the people brought the sick and demon-possessed to him. The Jewish people marked off a day much differently from us. Our day goes from sunup to sunup, theirs from sunset to sunset marked by the appearance of three stars in the sky.
M

As soon as the Sabbath ended the people brought the sick and demon-possessed to him. The Jewish people marked off a day much differently from us. Our day goes from sunup to sunup, theirs from sunset to sunset marked by the appearance of three stars in the sky.

As soon as the Sabbath ended the people brought the sick and demon-possessed to him. The Jewish people marked off a day much differently from us. Our day goes from sunup to sunup, theirs from sunset to sunset marked by the appearance of three stars in the sky.
Mark 1:35 NIV84
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.
Mk 1:35
Mark 1:35 NIV84
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.
We do not know how long Jesus ministered to people that night nor how much sleep he was able to get but he rose early and sought a quite place to pray. His day started with a very demanding schedule. He must have known that if he was to continue, he needed to spend time with his Father.
We do not know how long Jesus ministered to people that night nor how much sleep he was able to get but he rose early and sought a quite place to pray. His day started with a very demanding schedule. He must have known that if he was to continue, he needed to spend time with his Father.
Mark 1:35 NIV84
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.
Mark
We do not know how long Jesus ministered to people that night nor how much sleep he was able to get but he rose early and sought a quite place to pray. His day started with a very demanding schedule. He must have known that if he was to continue, he needed to spend time with his Father.
Mark 1:35 NIV84
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.
We do not know how long Jesus ministered to people that night nor how much sleep he was able to get but he rose early and sought a quite place to pray. His day started with a very demanding schedule. He must have known that if he was to continue, he needed to spend time with his Father.
We do not know how long Jesus ministered to people that night nor how much sleep he was able to get but he rose early and sought a quite place to pray. His day started with a very demanding schedule. He must have known that if he was to continue, he needed to spend time with his Father.
Mark 1:35 NIV84
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.
We do not know how long Jesus ministered to people that night nor how much sleep he was able to get but he rose early and sought a quite place to pray. His day started with a very demanding schedule. He must have known that if he was to continue, he needed to spend time with his Father.
Mark 3:13 NIV84
Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.
Mark 6:31–32 NIV84
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
M
After his cousin, John the Baptist, was beheaded and after the 12 returned from their first preaching and deliverance campaign, he took them to a solitary spot so that they could receive some rest.
Mark 6:46 NIV84
After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Mk 6:4
Mark 14:29 NIV84
Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
But the people would not leave Jesus alone. They saw where he was going and they walked all the way around the lake to meet him there. Jesus taught them and then feed over 5,000 of them. Afterwards he put his disciples in a boat and he himself walked up a mountainside to pray. I would expect that he would be drained from such a demanding day. He may have also had to wrestle once again with that first temptation to turn the stone into bread. He had just fed over 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish.
Mark 14:32 NIV84
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
Mark 14:32 NIV84
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
Mk
Mark 1:35 NIV84
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.
And then in the Garden of Gethsemane he sought solitude to pray.
And then in the Garden of Gethsemane he sought solitude to pray.
Solitude is not as flashy as the healing stories. It is not has though provoking as teaching. It is not as awesome as miracles and is not as stunning as talking to an angel. Therefore, it suffers from neglect. People seldom pay attention to the times that Jesus sought solitude. Mark tells us that Jesus withdrew from the crowd on ___ occasions.
Solitude suffers from neglect. It is not as flashy as the healing stories. It is not has thought provoking as his teaching. It is not as awesome as his miracles over the forces of nature and it is not as stunning as talking to an angel. But it is as necessary for the spiritual life as the air we breath, the water we drink and the food we earth. Maturity in Christ does not occur without solitude.
A believe may read the Bible in its entirety many times but unless they remove themselves from all sorts of distraction, God cannot speak to them. We may attend worship services on Sunday morning and evening, a Wednesday Praise Service and a Friday night Prayer Service but unless we step away from others God is limited with what he can accomplish.
Mark 6:6 NIV84
And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.

Finding Solitude

Get alone
2. Nothing
The first thing that solitude teaches us is God is the author and shaper .
Isaiah 40:31 NIV84
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
We prefer to sing the song rather than actually do the waiting. Waiting is not entertaining. It is not very exciting. It can be dull. The first attempts are clumsy. You will wonder if you are doing it right. Just sit and wait.
Isaiah 40:31 NRSV
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
We prefer to sing the song rather than actually do the waiting. Waiting is not entertaining. It is not very exciting. It can be dull. The first attempts are clumsy. You will wonder if you are doing it right. Just sit and wait.
Actually you are not doing “nothing” when you enter solitude. You are doing the most important task—LISTENING. You are listening for God to speak. This usually comes latter in your time of solitude but I place it as #1 because of its importance.
3. Pray
Paul tells us on two separate occasions that prayer should be part of our daily routine
Ephesians 6:18 NIV84
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
eph 6:18
Ephesians 6:18 NIV84
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV84
pray continually;
4. Meditate
Eph
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV84
pray continually;
1Thes
3. Meditate
Meditation came into mainstream pop culture when the Beatles travelled to India and studied under the Maharishi. But Christian meditation and Eastern meditation are very different. In the latter the person empties their thoughts
2 Timothy 3:16–17 NIV84
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Tim 3
There are several concepts that deserve are attention but I am only going to focus on two. The first is the first two words of the sentence. Every passage from to is God-breathed. God used the personalities of ___ authors to deliever his message. Each person has his own style. Each person has a different history and a unique perspective on the events that took place. We are to read each and every book so that God can shape our lives by his word.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 NIV84
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
There are several concepts that deserve are attention but I am only going to focus on two. The first is the first two words of the sentence. Every passage from to is God-breathed. God used the personalities of ___ authors to deliever his message. Each person has his own style. Each person has a different history and a unique perspective on the events that took place. We are to read each and every book so that God can shape our lives by his word.
The second concept I would like to focus on is the last six words-equipped for every good work. The Gk word for work implies a task. A master assigns his servants with work before he leaves on a journey.
Mark 13:34 NIV84
It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
In the spiritual life we have certain tasks that enable us to grow in faith-prayer, Scripture reading, fasting, meditation, service worship and others. In the life of church ministry we have various tasks that sustain the institution—teaching, service, caring, counseling, administration. As we meditate on Scripture we refine our skills and competence in these areas.
Mark 13:34 NIV84
It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
2-17
In the spiritual life we have certain tasks that enable us to grow in faith-prayer, Scripture reading, fasting, meditation, service worship and others. In the life of church ministry we have various tasks that sustain the institution—teaching, service, caring, counseling, administration. As we meditate on Scripture we refine our skills and competence in these areas.
“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 perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
M
Mark 1:35 NIV84
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.
Related Media
Related Sermons