Tuesday, February 23, 2016
My friend was asked, “What are you giving up for Lent?” Without hesitation, he quipped, “Alcohol, chocolate and three putts!”
Lent is designed to arouse contrition and then encourage our embrace of repentance. Presbyterians are not big on Lenten discipline. We like leniency! The point of contrition is to mitigate our pride, not eliminate our hope.
The philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead said, “Religion is what people do with their solitude.”
Solitude is where you have it out.
Solitude is where you decide the basic issues of life.
Solitude is where you decide how to prioritize your relationships.
Solitude is where you decide that your life is not a possession to be hoarded but a gift to be shared.
Solitude is where you decide on self-preservation or self-sacrifice.
Such discoveries do not come easily but only after long, arduous wrestling with evil. Evil is always experienced as an intensely personal power. We are often attacked at the point of our freedom. The advice is always subtle and the same; I’ll tell you what to do with your freedom - sell it! Sell out to materialism, money, sex, power, prestige, greed, lust or popularity.
The Psalmist said, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Henri Nouwen put it this way, “Compassion is the fruit of solitude.”