Seclusion…A Positive Time?
I was in the garden the other day and I was pondering the words used in morning prayer that morning. We read, from Luke’s gospel that Elizabeth, in her old age (who had been barren for her whole life) had conceived. Elizabeth, for five months remained in seclusion. And then in the Exodus reading that Moses had gone up the mountain on his own. Jesus too spent time up mountains sometimes but away from others on his own. All these references, that we never really thought about or connected before, about being in seclusion, or of being on your own, now really speak into this time of the lockdown. Four weeks now, with a couple more weeks to go, at least! And I know that some (many) people are struggling through this time; I suppose some people might even be quite enjoying it, I don’t know. But the interesting thing is that God speaks to us when we’re on our own, when we find that space, or when we find or make time to be with God, or when we take time out and perhaps new things are being conceived or being born. What happened with Elizabeth was that she was five months on her own! Secluded away, shielded (?)! But what was happening in that time that she was pregnant was that she was preparing to give birth to, who we now know as John the Baptist. He, scripture tells us, prepared the way for Jesus. God used that time of seclusion and privacy and time time on her own to birth something new. Maybe, God is doing that now with us. May His Holy Spirit be birthing something new in each one of us during this time. Let us look at this time, not as a period where we feel like we are being crushed but as a time where we can spread our wings, a time when we can fly, or learn to fly… a time when we can take off…a time when a new seed is being sown in each one of us, for it to germinate and be birthed. Our church will now be looking at more effective online ministry or connection with many more people than those who come to our churches at present. We have started live streaming. And we record the number of views…I know that some of them won’t be for very long but people are connecting! All these live streams we produce, about four each day there are 50, 60, 70 or more views (not just the brief ones but a little bit longer) at each of them. I’ve never had more than six people come to morning prayer, now there is 50+. The highest one so far has been 274 views……I know it’s not all about numbers, but they indicate something. Perhaps God is birthing something new at Lifestreams, through the online live streaming, it’s a lesson for us.
I’m out in the garden, looking at the new vegetable patch and I can just about see where the seeds are just poking a couple of leaves through the soil. New birth…and the fruit will come in the coming weeks and months. May this be the picture for Lifestreams and for you…this is my message of hope for you today. May the verses of scripture that we often skip over, come to mean something new, now each day in this new context.
Take a few minutes to pray that God would bring new life and new opportunities being conceived or birthed in this time of seclusion.