To those of you who have been following my blog and the times of solitude this past year: Thank you so much! It has been an honor for me that you have thought this attempt at contemplation and devotion was worth following! I hope it has been a blessing for you.
Now as we approach the end of 2013 I would like to offer you a little break from the norm. This week (beginning with Monday) is a week for you to spend special time in solitude. Be creative and see what you can do. I would recommend that you begin your time with a moment of silence and pray your favorite psalm(s).
During this week I would also suggest (only a suggestion–if you have another idea, run with it!) that you take a book of the Bible that is brief–perhaps the 16 chapter gospel of Mark or even shorter, the book of Philippians, Ephesians, or Colossians. Make it a point each day to read through the entire book (you may have to divide Mark up into five sections). If you choose a book like Philippians, read it all the way through in one sitting each day. These books were meant to be read all the way through rather than in bite size chunks.
One way of doing this would be to read it through silently one day, read the book out loud the second day, listen to a recording of it the third day, and then read it silently and contemplatively the next two days.
End with silence, journaling, personal prayer, and the model prayer of Matthew 6.
Beginning on January 6, I will post our weekly times of solitude following this past year’s model. In 2014 I will focus our readings and themes on the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Too often Christians limit their readings to only a few Old Testament texts, preferring to spend the majority of their time in the New Testament. But Jesus’ story did not begin with Matthew–but in Genesis. To neglect the Hebrew Scriptures is to risk missing the point of the Bible altogether.
Blessings to you in the coming new year! May you be filled with God’s love and joy so you may share it with others!