The Rhythm of Engagement & Withdrawal – Br. Keith Nelson

Br. Keith Nelson

Luke 5: 12-16

“But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.”

All four of the gospels give us tell-tale signs of a distinct pattern in Jesus’s own rhythm of life: his withdrawal into solitary places for prayer. The word in Greek can mean to slip away quietly, to go back, to go aside: it literally means to vacate or make space down, perhaps a bit like how we say‘My schedule will free up in a few days.’ The word withdraw can have rather negative connotations in English: to take something away after it has been offered; or to stop supporting someone, like a political candidate. People go into withdrawal if they stop taking an addictive drug: the end result will be freedom from addiction, but in the meantime, great suffering is in store. To describe someone as withdrawn is not a positive assessment. 

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