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Solitude and Community

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! PS 46:10 ESV

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matt 18:20 ESV

Recently I have been going through interviews and journals from the participants in my doctoral project that was conducted in Big Bend National Park back in March. I’m in the process of finalizing my study on identity formation through the wilderness experience. As a part of our 10 day project, each participant spent 24 hours alone in contemplation and prayer. One of the things that stuck out to me the most in reviewing the data is how valuable the comradery and fellowship of the group was for each participant, especially following the solo experience.

In his book Backpacking with the Saints, author Belden C. Lane examines the connection between solitude and community. “In giving ourselves to the silent aloneness, pulling back from the hubbub of human language and culture, we're aware of the interlocking web that embraces the whole of culture. Paradoxically, genuine community is a sharing of solitudes. The only true self we have to give is one that is grounded in a solitary life. We won't appreciate the unity of which we're already a part until we pull back from the frantic crowdedness of our lives.”

Christian community truly is a sharing of solitudes. Each member of the body of Christ has an integral and vital role to play. As we individually seek God in stillness and solitude, He speaks His will through His Word personally into each heart.

In coming together in community, the sum of the whole is greater than its parts, and we reflect God’s glory like a skillfully crafted multifaceted diamond. This feature of a wilderness group experience that both promotes solitude and community is one of the things I love about how we are able to serve through Ascend Outdoor Adventures. We have the privilege of witnessing the Lord build His Church one personal experience at a time. During this crazy season of uncertainty due to COVID-19 may you find some time to pull back from the crowdedness of life and just soak up the presence of your Creator, knowing that because of time alone with Him, you will be able to appreciate and participate in genuine community and unity all the more.

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