The Awakening: "Solitude in Christian Community"
A Weekly publication of The Awakening Institute for Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction, and Soul Care
Hi Everyone, I pray blessings upon you, that you are experiencing the presence of God in every moment of your days. Now is a good time to be still and let God speak in your heart.
This week we continue to explore solitude and silence in the contemplative life. Last week we considered personal solitude. This week we take a look at solitude together in Christian community.1
In monastic terms this type of solitude is called coenobitic. This is the life of a community having come together, under God, yet separate from the world at large. As in personal solitude, discernment, humility and a disdain for controversy are sought, this time in community life. This is very much an incarnational existence as it is by good works that Christ is seen in the midst of the community. Emphasis is never placed on fleeting earthly things, but instead on the eternal kingdom of God. The health of our soul and the souls of those with us in community is emphasized. Soul care is carried out in life lived together holding one another in the Love of Jesus Christ. “How is it with you soul?” is a question indicative a community in solitude. Scripturally Matthew 6:33, understood as a community effort, would stand front and center.
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. NRS
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" 37 He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." NRS
Your neighbor, in the context of solitude in community, is those in the community of believers with whom we coexist. This of course expands to include all people everywhere when we consider solitude in the world, which is our next consideration. A community in solitude is a community where all major decisions are community decisions. There are no majority rules, or decisions made in this community without consensus, which is prayerfully sought in accordance with the will of God.
Read the following paragraph titled, “A Community in Solitude.” Upon finishing reflect on what you have read in writing (100-150 words). What resonates with you? What might you add? Ask yourself, “is such a community possible in today’s society?” If your answer is yes how would you implement it? If no, give reasons.
A community in solitude honors all people in the community as they follow Christ together to, help the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick and help those in trouble whenever possible. This is a community who console those in pain, without need of worldly benefit or recognition, preferring to show the love of Christ, thus Christ seen, in all they do. Every effort is made to avoid anger, hate, and jealousy, and to forgive without hesitation. Members of a community in solitude speak the truth in love, avoid pride, disdain gossip, and trust God who is everywhere. This community is steeped in God’s holy Word and unceasingly apply themselves to regular prayer, silence and meditation. Finally, they honor and love both the aged and the younger in a sacrificial manner.
(Next week solitude in the world)
1 Excerpt from The Awakening Institutes five week study on Contemplative Listening. For more details and a free syllabus feel free to email… firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit our website www.theawakeninginstitute.com
November 11th 2016
At Epworth UMC
7651 Johnson Street
To register for this free seminar titled
“Contemplative Prayer for Every Believer”
Simply email email@example.com or call 321-298-8801 and leave your name, phone number, and a note saying, “I will be there.”