Teaching about solitude often points us to the times when Jesus isolates himself to pray, as in Luke 6:12-13. But we often neglect that in the movement from Good Friday to Easter, it is the silence of Saturday that we call “Holy.” There are no cries from the cross nor is there the triumph of the resurrection. There is only waiting in hope, confusion, and—for us, though not for the original disciples—the anticipation that the Christ who lives will reshape our lives and our world.

Embracing solitude and silence is not a pietistic withdrawal from the world for the sake of our own personal feelings of well-being. Rather, it is a detaching of ourselves from the structures and systems that shape our daily live so that we can reenter the world and participate in human community out of the transformative love of God. As Dallas Willard writes, “The normal course of day-to-day human interactions locks us into patterns of feeling, thought, and action that are geared to a world set against God. Nothing but solitude can allow the development of a freedom from the ingrained behaviours that hinder our integration into God’s order.”

Our silence and solitude is one way in which we imitate the death of our Savior, fellowshipping with him in the silence and isolation of the grave so that we too can burst forth in glorious light, with abundant springs of joy and love flowing from the depths of our inner lives out to the world.

Earthen Vessels

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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  1. […] Matthew Lee Anderson gives this excerpt from his book, Earthen Vessels: Teaching about solitude often points us to the times when Jesus isolates himself to pray, as in Luke 6:12-13. But we often neglect that in the movement from Good Friday to Easter, it is the silence of Saturday that we call “Holy.” There are no cries from the cross nor is there the triumph of the resurrection. There is only waiting in hope, confusion, and—for us, though not for the original disciples—the anticipation that the Christ who lives will reshape our lives and our world. […]

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