For Discussion in Small Groups
Silence & Solitude
How did it go this last week practicing community and having a conversation with someone that looks different than you? What did you learn?
"Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.” - Henri Nouwen
Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness to find silence and solitude with God. (Luke 5:16) It was in silence and solitude that Jesus got away from all the other voices to hear the voice of God. In those moments he processed the intensities of life, when He prioritized His life, and when He connected with and was filled up by the Father.
Read Matthew 14:13-22
- Jesus hears in Matthew 14:1-2 that his cousin, John the Baptist, was beheaded by authorities. We see that Jesus’ first reaction in processing this news was to find time in silence and solitude with God.
- Is silence and solitude a regular part of your discipleship to Jesus? If yes, what does that look like in your life rhythm? If no, why not? (Note: The point of this question is honest conversation, not guilt or shame. We all need to work hard to create a safe place in your group for people at every stage.)
- What is the most difficult distraction in your life to overcome to get time alone with God?
- What scares you about processing the emotions you feel regarding racial injustice with God?
- In your times alone in quietness this week, what do you think God is wanting to tell you?
- After the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, He led Jesus to confront injustice around him and love everyone in revolutionary ways, cutting across boundaries. What is God’s Spirit leading you to do for your neighbor?
Practice for the Week: Plan an intentional time to spend in silence & solitude with God this week in a way that you usually aren't able to.
Ideas for going forward:
- Experiment with varied venues for solitude.Take a pre-dawn walk, listening to the awakening sounds of your world (whether city or country)
- Limit your speaking for one day and see what you learn about yourself and others
- Take a one-day silent retreat — or you could do a three or seven-day retreat
- Go to the city for a social justice retreat
- For one month leave your car radio off and make your morning commute a mini-retreat
- Arise at 2:00 A.M., light a single candle as a reminder of the presence of Christ, and for one hour listen to the sounds of the night