Day 18: Eremos

Eremos.  This is the Greek word used for wilderness, solitary places, quiet and uninhabited places. 

Be Quiet.  Sit still and silent for 4 minutes.  Let your mind be aware that God is present with you. When you get distracted, don’t fight with yourself.  Simply turn your thoughts again to Him.  Imagine the delight your Father feels because you showed-up to be with Him!  Breath slowly and relax.   

Scripture.   Matthew 3:16-4:2 NLT. After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”  Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.  For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.” 

Meditation.  In the year 2007, a seismic shift occurred throughout the world, changing life as we knew it.  The iPhone was launched, Facebook was open to anyone, and Twitter took off – we entered the Digital Age.  I remember the excitement and fun of it!  Never a dull moment with information and connection, anytime and anyplace, in the palm of my hand.  Since then, the average attention span has dipped to 8 seconds.  Entrepreneurs and designers make big money in the attention economy by getting us addicted to their products.   In all likelihood the greatest threat to our souls today isn’t decadence; it’s distractedness.  

Often in the Gospels, we read that Jesus withdrew to the eremos.  This is the Greek word used for wilderness, solitary places, quiet and uninhabited places.  As soon as He was baptized and equipped for ministry, the Spirit of God led Him to the eremos  because it was a place of strength.  After His first full day of work, He went to the eremos (Mark 1:34-35).   When His work was so chaotic there was no time to even eat, Jesus took His apostles to the eremos. (Mk. 6:31).  During Jesus’ season of enormous popularity – when everybody was looking for Him – He withdrew to the eremos to rest with His Father and pray.  He arranged His rhythm of life to include withdrawals from everything but quiet. 

In the language of spiritual formation, we call this silence and solitude.  Other practitioners refer to it as mindfulness.  The truth is our souls are desperate for eremos.  If Jesus needed it in the 1st century, how much more do we in the digital age, amidst the unceasing interruptions and commotion of our minute-by-minute way of life.   

Silence is a choice to abstain from sounds within our control, both external and internal.  When silence is contained within solitude, we find a place to decompress from noise, non-stop stimulation and decision fatigue.  Silence and solitude aren’t meant to be new tasks on our list, but new approaches to slow down, rest in God, feel our emotions, and allow what’s beneath the surface to be seen.  In solitude, the voice of God cuts through every other voice to affirm our solid status as a beloved, forgiven, transforming child of God.     

Question to Ponder.   Where can you rearrange your life rhythm to make time for eremos? 

Connect with God.  Withdraw from the noise for 2-3 hours to be with God alone in silence and prayer.  Just try it and see if it makes a difference.   

Connect with Others.  Talk to someone about their current experience in solitude and silence.