And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. Mark 1:35-39
Some people are early risers who get up enthusiastic and raring to go. Not me. I like the comfort of my bed and need several cups of coffee and a good deal of time to face the day. When I was newly ordained, in Baltimore, I thought I needed to be an early riser and joined a master's swim team that started in the pool at 5:30am. I was wonderfully awake at 7:30am after my swim. By three in the afternoon I was asleep, drooling at my desk. These days, the mornings here in Alaska are dark for a good long time. I am up before the sun these days, but it is not early.
Jesus was up early to pray and be by himself. When the others awoke they came looking for him, anxious because folks were demanding to see Jesus. Jesus took the time, under the cover of darkness, to engage with God, seeking direction. He had to be alone to talk to God and find his way forward. We all do. Whether we rise up early or walk alone in the bright sun, seeking a quiet way to talk with God is always important. It is not that God cannot hear us in the hubbub of the day, it is that we have a hard time hearing when surrounded.
Today, I ask God to help me take the time to listen. May my heart and mind be open to God's direction in my life. May we find ways to leave the world behind for a few moments so that we can draw closer to God. And as we draw closer may we be more and more empowered to serve the people right where we are.