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In this week's Lectionary, I'm struck by the sense of loneliness in the passages. I keep thinking how exhausting and draining it must have been for Christ to always be on the run, moving from place to place, never pausing at home, always faced with someone wanting to kill him. And I'm struck that Lent is a time for us to face our own loneliness with intention. If ever there were a time to seek out solitude for self-reflection, Lent is it.
It's true, we are spiritual beings having an embodied human experience here on earth (at least that's my belief), and there is something inherently lonely about that. But also, the community of humanity is bright and diverse and available - and I think part of why we're here is to make connections and realize our connectedness on both a human level and a spiritual level. Those two ideas exist in tension. And I imagine they created tension for Christ as well.
It seems like we have a few ways to combat loneliness: by realizing our oneness with God, deep in our innermost selves, often via solitude; by realizing our spiritual citizenship in heaven, that we are part of something more vast than what we can see; and by realizing community with other spiritual humans on earth. We have these means, but I think we are still going to feel lonely sometimes - it's just part of the human experience. One that has a lot to teach us if we are willing to listen.
God, we know that we are citizens of heaven first (1)
Sent to earth to learn lessons and build outposts.
But this is sometimes lonely work
That tests our resolve and our stamina.
Citizens of heaven
Aren’t always earth’s favorite people (2). …