Solitude

The Celebration of Yaweh’s Kingship

(This is a statement on the Kingdom of God, and to Whom We Give Our Ultimate Allegiance)

Solitude

Matthew ll:25-30

Everything is Indeed Good

“I just returned from a walk through the dark woods. It was cool and windy, but everything spoke of you. Everything: the clouds, the trees, the wet grass, the valley with its distant lights, the sound of the wind. They all spoke of your resurrection; they all made me aware that everything is indeed good. In you all is created good, and by you all creation is renewed and brought to an even greater glory than it possessed at its beginning.

O Lord, I know now that it is in silence, in a quiet moment, in a forgotten corner that you will meet me, call me by name and speak to me a word of peace. It is in my stillest hour that you become the risen Lord to me.” Father Henri Nouwen.

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    I have been thinking about solitude, and it hit me that solitude must be thought of  in the plural. We all see solitude from different perspectives. I have a very active perspective, not simply sitting somewhere,  praying, and simply being away, alone. Going to a movie, walking, sitting and meditating, and writing in our journal. We all come to solitude in different ways, one pair of shoes does not fit all of us.

    Since the lock down began in March many of us have been experiencing more solitude than in the past. That has brought with it, its own struggles as well as graces.

Solitude is seen by many people as a “me” time, a time to recharge our batteries, and return to our daily activities.

For others, and especially for those who live alone, this period of extended solitude has been a time, not of recharging and renewing, but of isolation and loneliness, when work and social routines have become virtual or remote, and physical connections limited to what can happen sitting six feet away from another. This time has become a living hell, and one of much fear, anxiety and pain. It is a time of grace and of challenge.

    In the Christian tradition solitude is not about recharging our batteries, but about an encounter with the divine. We have been working during this time, and the time taken for our self  in solitude is a time of grace, and of meeting Jesus alone, to renew  our strength and  faith.

    Time alone becomes a place of divine presence and companionship. Jacob reminds us:, “surely the Lord is in this place” as we open ourselves to an encounter with the living God. It is a time of great renewal, and a feeling of being very much alone. It is a struggle with our own darkness.

    But the one experience from this solitude is of a God who deeply loves the world, for we encounter the living God, who embodies love. God loves the world so much he let his only son suffer and die for it. We see the world as God sees it—through the tears of God’s loving eyes.

    The burden of this heart-breaking love is almost too hard to bear. But i the words of Jesus  reminds us that Jesus knew the tears of sadness, and in that knowing says to us, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” And we know that the One who wept is the resurrection and the life.


The Psalmist reminds us that weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning. In solitude We come to see the world as God sees it, and his call is that of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

And in solitude, the voices of so many who challenge our faith, coming at us from a million places, naming a God we do not like cease and we hear the words of Bishop Michael Curry: “If it’s not about love it is not about God.”

    On my wall are two paintings, one of me personally when we were 24, and the other entitled “Holy Communion and the Streets:

    In the our photo we are  strong, sitting proudly with a skate board, and arrogant as hell; in the one above we look confident , but am scarred like the young man in Holy Communion and the Streets. We are a part of all three  photos. Nothing is black and white, and at times the pain comes through. We have seen death, brutality, and the worst aspects of life. We see it now every day. Yet in each person we still see the face of Christ. This is where we belong.

    On our wrist we wear a silver bracelet given to us by Sam, ten years ago, when he was 22.  Shane was a victim of child trafficking, he lived with what he called his “gentleman” friend, in his sixties, until he was 18, he came to San Francisco often from another City to prostitute. He was a sweet kid, and now I hear reports of him at 34, still homeless, torn up by doubts and fears, victim of others; on September 11, 2001, we were in Portland, stranded because of the situation in New York and became ill. A minister friend took us to the hospital and left, and Shane called , and he came to the hospital. Shane took usto his hotel room and took care of us as we recovered, and our  minister friend said  later, “how could you go home with a kid like that,” our  answer, “he is my friend,”  and than there is Mike, who in his forties is still as crazy as he was when we met him on the streets, at 23 or 24. He now has a wife, and is on face book with photos  of his nice house, his garden, and still as wild as ever.

    And so on the streets, in the world, where we  have chose  and given the privilege  to live we hear the words of Bishop Curry, “If it is not about love, it is not about God.”

    God is present only in love, forgiveness, and caring for others regardless of who they are. It is painful work, and all of us are called to do that work, and to pass it on, until the reign of God comes upon the earth–and it will! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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    Father Christian River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P. O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

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This blog is dedicated to all the “misfits” who have no place to feel comfortable, but witness to the Kingdom in their differences.

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