Hellooo! I am back from my retreat last week. It was a lovely relaxing, refreshing time in many ways – spiritually and physically. I thoroughly recommend it.
A couple of highlights:
The retreat was specifically for Ministers / Clergy. At the start we were told that there was a strict ‘no shop talk’ rule. That meant we were not to talk about our churches, our ministries, theology or anything else church-related.
At first that sounded a bit heavy. After all, we were all clergy peeps. But I found it liberating. We were forced to talk to each other about aspects of our lives that had nothing to do with our work. We were not defined by what we do, we were able to be normal human beings for a while.
As I reflected on that I wondered what would happen if we introduced a similar rule at our church for a day. Perhaps we should do that at our next church holiday! How about at the next party you attend – ‘no talk about your work’ would make the conversations a bit more wide-ranging. How about putting it into our daily routines – making ‘what do you do?’ the last question we would ask someone instead of the first, so we get to know people as individuals rather than defining them by their employment status.
The second aspect of the retreat that I wish to mention is the countryside. I am a Devon lad. I am quite patriotic about the county in which I was born and raised. I can trace my family back many generations in Devon. The retreat centre is set in the middle of beautiful countryside and I was blessed by the opportunity to explore it a bit on my own and on guided walks (even though on one of them we walked up and down the same lane 3 times before we got it right).
There is something so peaceful and relaxing about rural Devon. The rolling hills just keep going into the distance like waves on the sea. There is a wonderful expanse of green, divided up by tall hedges and crossed by a network of lanes that connect the farms and villages in an almost maze-like quality. Everything slows down. Including you. The pictures here are from a couple of my walks and I would encourage you to stop and look at them. Breathe gently, hear the rural sounds, the chirping of birds, the rush of the water and feel the gentle breeze on your face. Enjoy the countryside, allow yourself to smile.
Relaxing is good for us. It’s why God designed a day off into the routine of life. Who are we to think we know better?
And the third aspect of the retreat? I was impressed by the gentle service of the community that hosted us. They were kindness personified. They were great free samples of Jesus.
I think that there are several reasons for this: perhaps most significant is their commitment to a daily routine of prayer and worship. You can better imitate someone if you actively spend time with them on a regular basis. What’s your routine?
Be blessed, be a blessing.
A man left the courtroom in a wheelchair, with a cheque for £1million from the insurance company. The insurance company still suspected fraud and their detective followed the man down the street.
“You won’t get away with this,” he said.”I’ll be following you and watching you for the rest of your life.”
“No worries,” the man replied.” You can watch all you like. You can follow me on my holiday to France. You can follow me to Lourdes. You can watch someone pray for me. And you can watch a miracle take place.”