Mothers’ Union Devotion Wednesday 13th January 2021

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. Mark 1. 35

Life for us may not be the same as for Jesus in the early days of Mark’s Gospel but there are definitely some parallels. For a start at the moment, it is often rather dark when we get up. Although the nights are starting to draw out, with the dull winter weather it can often seem very dark in the mornings. Some mornings the temptation is to stay in bed a bit longer as the darkness suggests the clock is somehow lying.

This darkness caused by midwinter also seems to reflect the internal darkness that the news brings daily into our homes. Increasing positive cases and deaths in our local communities and further afield. Reports of vaccination confusion, missed appointments and people worrying they have been forgotten, which may sell newspapers but do little to lighten our darkness. Then there is the sense of seemingly never-ending loneliness which this new lockdown has brought.

Jesus, however, uses his time of darkness, in which there are no people around making demands on his time and his skills, as a time of prayer. Whether he is in the city, curing the sick as he is on this occasion in Mark’s Gospel or whether he is in the countryside as on other occasions, Jesus makes a point of finding time to pray away from the noise and confusion of everyday life: Speaking and listening to his Heavenly Father.

So often, we too find it difficult to be still and quiet enough in our everyday lives for prayer to be a truly two-way conversation. We may be good at the speaking but not always the listening. Listening can be hard. Even when we are alone, we can be distracted by the constant internal background noise inside our own heads. We must find our own place of darkness where these distractions can be silenced for a while. A winter Lockdown can give us that opportunity. Just as the darkness helped Jesus find the peace to pray deeply and meaningfully, we too can embrace the current times of darkness we find ourselves in, to spend time listening to our living Lord.

Jesus’ time alone ended when Simon and his companions found him. At this stage having finished his successful time of prayer he was raring to go again, this time setting out for new towns in the neighbourhood proclaiming his message and cast out demons. So, we too will be able to emerge sometime later this year vaccinated, COVID-19 free and refreshed by spending our dark times in prayer and conversation with our loving Lord.

With all my love and prayers

Revd Sandra