Sunday, February 1, 2015

Vacation of the Spirit

I am going on retreat for the coming week. I look forward to this once-a-year opportunity to set aside ministry, community, projects, deadlines, challenges, etc. and turn my full attention to God who is at the center of all these important parts of my life. Retreat is a time to 'choose the better part' and focus on the 'one thing necessary.' It is like a little vacation-of-the-Spirit.

Who has this kind of opportunity? Every year, for the last 30+ years, I have taken this time apart: good-years, bad-years, high-years, low-years and everything in between. I hear the call of my God: come apart with me and rest a while.

I've come to the realization that winters are the best times for retreat for me. The rhythm of my life and ministry have a naturally quieter time now, allowing me to slip away for this time of prayer without too much worry about what I'm leaving behind. In the weeks coming up to the retreat, my thoughts turn to this special time, gradually opening my heart to the gifts it will offer.

As I settle down to prayer in these weeks before retreat, I've let my heart and mind wander quietly through the last year, noting events, gifts, challenges, and more especially, the presence of God in big and small ways through the year. When I get to retreat, there will be time to be more deliberate and probing about this. But in the time before retreat, it happens naturally and gently, as I look forward to this special time.
I am ready for retreat, and grateful for this blessed opportunity. I pray with and for all those I leave behind in community, in ministry, etc. And I look forward to coming back renewed - recreated - refreshed, and ready for what lies ahead.

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