Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thinking Out Loud

Today's photographs have been selected from the Italy trip to support the content focus of "spiritual retreat."

My intention this morning was to spend a few hours here at home in a low-key private spiritual retreat. It may still happen.

There are a couple of reasons behind this. First, the elders at our church are doing just that. Rebekah and Tim are leading a half-day retreat at CedarKirk Camp & Conference Center. It makes sense to me to join them in prayer, study and contemplation. In fact, now I think about it, I like the idea of (next time) launching a church-wide initiative that would coincide with the elders' retreat. We could provide guidelines for how to approach the morning, either at home or in the sanctuary, so that the entire body would be praying for the leadership while they are in retreat.

Hmmm... maybe I'm already having the spiritual retreat I was considering...?

Then, I like this emerging idea of a weekly personal mini-retreat. But how would this fit into the way I'm already doing faith? Let's take a look:
  • I'm already committed to a daily devotional time and ongoing meditation throughout the entire day.
  • My personal plan (to more thoroughly engage the concept of "prayer without ceasing") is making measurable headway.
  • I'm faithful in worship, and pretty much never miss Sunday morning in church.
  • Teaching my adult Sunday-school class keeps me intellectually focused.
  • I meet with my men's Bible-study posse (The Gathering of Most Excellent Dudes) every Wednesday.
  • My Sunday-evening dinner and discussion group helps keep things in perspective...
So I'm thinking that a time of personal reflection (one that expands on my daily devotional initiative) sounds like a useful intervention. Once every week would be a good idea. Then again, one time a month might work as a more practical alternative. But there's a sense in which the natural rhythms of our lives are built around the seven-day cycle. Consequently, every week might in practice prove easier to pull off than once a month.

I'm thinking out loud here (it's what I do!), not laying down a rule or suggesting this is what the rest of you should do. But I'm learning more and more how useful it is for me to develop what I'm beginning to understand as "Sacred Rhythms" (See my Lent book - hopefully in 2011).

My prayer today is this: "Lord God, please be with the leaders of my church - and the leaders of all churches - as they look for guidance in terms of immediate and long-term direction. Also be with the rest of us, grant us wisdom and grant us courage. Amen."

Peace, love and every blessing - DEREK

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good trip! We have been to Lake Junakuska a number of times and found it delightful and renewing!!! The Europe prt--wow! One fine day--maybe our 35th anniversary--I hope to visit Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. I have commented several times--just to refresh you-- I was an ESE teacher--still am--just back in the safety of the English department. My favorite classes are my FUSE classes. That's my mission field. I'm going to wite to the Trib--seems like all my favorite are disappearing--along with much of the paper! I keep up with Education on The Gradebook-- A St. Pete Times blog---a big deal for a fifty-something low-techie :) Best to you and yours--pam thomas