‘Our Quiet Time’,  Matthew 17:1-13 & Genesis 3:8-11 February 19th 2023

‘Our Quiet Time’,  Matthew 17:1-13 & Genesis 3:8-11 February 19th 2023

Do we have a place that holds special memories for us?

I’d think each of us has – maybe that is something within us, maybe already it is in mind, perhaps there is an image on our desktop or phone.

What about places that hold special memories of God for us?

Gospel reading is about place. Time with God.

Jesus takes Peter, James, John up a mountain. Jesus took them. This set aside time for him with them.

Jesus set aside time to be with them.

What time do we set aside to be with Jesus?

He chose the time  ‘Jesus took with him’

what time do we set aside?

When we do we encounter – what I mean by that word – when do you meet with the Lord?

The first regular encounter of the Lord with people, in of God walking with Adam and Eve in the garden. 

A bible commentary describes it like this:

‘Jehovah appears here as the owner of paradise, and as taking in it, his daily exercise.

For the verb used, is in the reflexive conjugation and means ‘walking for pleasure’.

The time is the ‘cool – literally the wind of the day’, the hour in a hot climate when the evening breeze sets in, and men, rising from their noontide slumber, go forth for labour or recreation. In this description, the primary lesson, is that man had lived in close communication with God.’’

Humankind originally lived in close communication with God – Genesis shows us – God as the owner of the paradise, took a walk for pleasure with Adam and Eve, suggesting this was not a one off.  God’s intent – rested people – ie from the noontide siesta – walking with creator God talking as friends – people regularly encountering God and people living in close communion with God. God met with humanity as an act of pleasure – something he enjoyed doing…

So where is your garden or your mountain? Your place of encounter.

Location and time can be different for each.

There is a true story of Susanna Wesley – who had a household full of kids – there was no place to go, the demands were high. So when she needed to pray and chose to pray, she would pull her apron over her head, and they knew while her head was covered they could not disturb her, she was praying.

Location can be your car, out in the open air;

Time? Maybe it is morning the best but maybe a walk during your lunchbreak, or maybe it is easier to focus at the end of busyness in your day.

It is important that you find a location to meet, a time to encounter.

Jesus in the gospels, models meeting his heavenly father to us.

He encounters God when life is going well – start of Mark, ministry is going really well – super popular, things are happening – and yet Mark 1 – ‘’very early in the morning, he got up, when to a solitary place where he prayed.’

It is easy to stop meeting with God when things are good, life is good, than when things are tough. 

Jesus encounters God when life is busy.

Mark 6. So many people are coming, so he wants to take the disciples away to a quiet place.  The disciples and Jesus are under pressure. They needed the time away.

Our solitary time can become crowded out – by the busyness of life, as well as by distractions or worries or preoccupations which come with it.  When we are busy, it can be important perhaps to take even more time in our quiet time – with so many things going on, the temptation is to rush in and out – that is  temptation I face –  but I think there is truth to what Brian Heasley said: ‘’I’ve learned that the quiet time is more important than ever when there’s a lot in my schedule or on my mind. In the quiet time, I find that the Lord comes and resources me with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.’’

Jesus encounters God in a crisis.

Another garden, Gethsemane. Crisis. He will be arrested.

Yet Jesus prioritises time to encounter, to meet his Father. 

In such moments, we may find a scripture or a memory or a word from the Lord, where we find hope in despair, comfort in the sorrow, sense of peace again…

We need that time of encounter where we are in a season of success, of busyness or despair or crisis and God will meet you there.

God wants to meet you, the real you

Coming back to Genesis. ‘One day they are not there- they are hiding – where are you? The KJV says ‘where art Thou!’

God pursues them.

You see, Jesus takes them up the mountain. They don’t take Jesus. His initiative. He wants to spend time with them. He does not take them for a walk in a garden but a walk up a mountain.

God pursues. Jesus wants to spend time these three men.

He wants to meet with you. 

Now, we all know meetings where we would rather not be at, at all, or where we feel very uncomfortable and we want to get out.

We also know meetings where we feel we have to play our A Game. So we are tense.

God wants to meet with you, where you are at! 

Some commentators say that God was not calling out to find out Adam and Eve’s physical condition – but rather what condition they were in, so you might say God is asking ‘where are you at?’’

We see this in another garden – we move from the garden of the fall to the garden of the resurrection. Jesus chooses to meet Mary. She didn’t bump into him. He choose to meet her and he lets her share where she is at, how she is doing. Jesus could have just gone for it – It’s ME! But no. He asks why are you crying? He lets her share.

We see this again, on the Road to Emmaus – something our upcoming Lectio Course explores quite deeply over 5 sessions – Jesus comes along and asks – what are you talking about – they respond – and he asks ‘what things’ and they share more and then he begins sharing with them.  He allows them to share where they are at.

I find it deeply encouraging I can share where I am at, with God. As I writing this, I remembered the meeting I had, my interview for the post of the minister here at All Saints. Into a small room, we had squeezed, an Archdeacon, we had David Phillips, Adrian Los, and of course, here today, Marina, Annemarie and Peter – so really it is their fault I am here!

But you know how those types of meetings are – your A Game –  questions, ideas, what do you think or …

 now, when I left that meeting, I really did not think, I was the right person that was being looked for –  God of course had a different opinion to mine…

but you know

I sat down under a tree in the nearby Park and later as I wandered back home to England,

I knew regardless of how the interview had gone, they knew what I was like… I knew i had shared who I was.

God wants to meet with us, to set aside time to be with us and he does not look for our A Game like an interview – well, will you pass, can I use you? No, it is about where you are at – to come out of that quiet time, feeling yes, I was honest, God got the real me.


He takes them up a mountain. I wondered why. I think a reason was privacy. Jesus himself would find time away from the crowds – and here he does the same, for if you read the rest of Matthew 17, he comes down to the crowds, they are all around.

 Matthew 6 when Jesus teaches about prayer he says: when you pray go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen.’ The words for room – is tameion – which is translated as ‘storeroom’ – RT France, a scholar says: this was an inner room, probably windowless and possibly with the only lockable door in the house.’’

Windowless – suggests, a place without distraction. Soren Kierkegaard – c19th Danish Philosopher – wrote about ‘creating silence’. He did not say ‘find silence’ he said ‘create silence’.

How can we create an undistracted, windowless silence, where we can be fully focused and present. Jesus took them up a mountain. What do you need to do?

Now, you may not have a windowless room but we have many other ‘window’s which distract us. Most are on our devices. Windows into shopping, social media, to entertainment, to information. We need to shut outselves away in a quiet spot, free from distraction. That may mean, switch off our phones, don’t use a bible on your phone, rediscover that paper copies of the bible exist.

However this is not just about tech – the first challenge is always, not the tech, but can I get into a room, do I want to get up that mountain, into that garden and pray…

We are distracted. But this is more than switch off our phones, though that can help.

Distractions will always be around us.  We need to find peace and focus despite the distractions.

Two steps.

Name it


tame it.

Name it.

Acknowledge you are distracted;

identify it – work out what it is distracting you;

declare it – on paper, outloud, I am  being distracted by…

Once named.

We seek to tame it.

So think about what action is needed for the distraction.

Respond to a distraction – for example, if you keep thinking about a friend whose marriage is in trouble, or some other news which has affected, this is a distraction that should lead to prayer.

Feed a distraction – maybe give what it needs. So you are hungry, get some fruit, or you need that caffeine boost – get the coffee… that may sort it out.

Delay a distraction – if it is task, an insight for a piece of work etc, or someone to ring about a wedding idea  – write it down somewhere and then pick it up, after your quiet time.

Dismiss a distraction – sometimes it is laugh at it, bin it.

Jesus takes them up a mountain. Away from distractions. Where can you go? What do you need to do? And when head noise, distractions come in, name it and tame it.


Quiet time. In this weeks TTE – which is our monthly teaching evening – it is about Quiet time – this Tuesday – maybe this is one for you – to come, chat, share, get refreshed in your time with God.

We mentioned the Road to Emmaus – the Life Groups will be using materials called the Lectio Course, which explores that story and how we hear God in the bible. Join a life group. Or if you really cannot make one, we are running a special lent life group – 5 weeks back to back – same materials as the regular life groups. Can you set aside that time, to help grow in your meeting with God?


Places that hold special memories. But where now is the time and place you meet with God, or where you will meet him in the coming week?

Be assured, he wants to meet with you – it is a walk of pleasure – and to find out where you are at?

How can we find that windowless, place, manage our distractions?

Shall we pray, in fact a blessing over your times with the Lord.


May your place of meeting be blessed with the presence of the divine.

May your walk with the Lord be a pleasure that sustains you.

Let his word feed you, his world speak to you and his Spirit fuel your imagination.

Get lost in te depths of the father’s love for you, and find yourself in him.

Be still and know that he is God. Amen.