RETREAT: Monday, March 12th

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WEEK FOUR: REFRESHMENT

RETREAT

Psalm 32:7 (NRSV)

You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.

Jesus invited his disciples to “Come away and rest” after hearing of the death of John the Baptist (Mark 6:31). He understood the need for them to come away from their pace and people, to rest in the refuge of God, and to regroup, console, and encourage. Today our word is retreat. We retreat to find rest, to abide in safety until we are ready to face our daily challenges, to strengthen, to refresh, and to listen. God serves as our hiding place and shelter- not for us to escape or ignore what lies before us- but to abide in God’s protective embrace until we are rested and prepared to go again.

When I took a course in Spiritual Foundations, I was nervous about attending the four-day silent retreat that was recommended during Lent. I had participated in other retreats and always came away longing for more. But this first silent retreat was intimidating to anticipate and difficult to experience. In fact, I texted my family too often, I only stayed three days, and I couldn’t even keep totally silent. I said, “Good morning!” to a Sister in the hallway, and had the giggles with a classmate. Since I couldn’t do the physical silences well, you can imagine how much I struggled to silence my inner thoughts and just BE with God.

Do you find it difficult to retreat, to take time away from the clamor of life to just be with God? Sure, we have many other obligations or responsibilities pulling at us. Schedules are full, and we tend to put ourselves last when time is limited. But might we also be avoiding something more?

Are you afraid to slow down and bare your soul before God? Have you ever thought, “I am not going to think about this because I don’t have time for tears right now”? Do you like to be busy so you don’t have time to think? Are you afraid of what might be revealed? Have you ever actually arranged and attended a retreat, only to struggle the entire time? If so, know you are not alone…

To retreat is a sign of wisdom, not weakness. To retreat is to choose to pause instead of push. To retreat is not giving up, but giving way for God. To retreat means to allow God to expose your own soul’s wounds and needs with soothing, healing light. To retreat is to simply allow God to love you even when you are feeling unworthy or inadequate. To retreat is to cease from handling everything around you and begin handling what is within you. To retreat is to be able to do these things, all the while feeling fully loved, in the safety and security of God’s hiding place.

 

Today let’s start with a mini-retreat. Take some time to read the names of God in the list below. (These were compiled from a variety of sources.) Choose the one that describes how you most need God at this time. Which name speaks to your heart? Now spend time in a quiet embrace with the God you have named, allowing God to provide what and all you need for these days and times.

Abba… All-powerful God… Hope of All the Earth… God of Life and Death… Almighty God… Great and Awesome God… Binder of Wounds… Ancient of Days… The Alpha and Omega… God of all Compassion… Living God… Creator of Heaven and Earth… Generous Provider of all Good Gifts… Healer of Our Every Ill… Eternal Might… God of All Being… Giver of Love… Inspiration of Goodness… Everlasting Light… Prince of Peace… God of Truth… God of Radiance… Proclaimer of Justice… Righteous One… God of Unchangeable Power… Dwelling Place… Sustainer of Souls… God of All Comfort… God of Steadfastness and Encouragement… Fountain of All Holiness… God of All Times and Places… I AM THAT I AM… Heart that Inspires in a Vision of Justice and Love… Giver of Peace… Helper of the Weak… Wonderful Counselor… Heart’s Delight… Infinite God… Guide of Humanity… Companion of the Lonely… Creative Source of All Being… God of All Goodness… Judge of All Humankind… Eternal Spirit of the Universe… Giver of Every Good and Perfect Gift… Forever God… Brightness of Faithful Souls… God of the Beginning and End… God of Hope and Joy… God of Light and Sun… Gracious Giver of Knowledge… God of Many Deliverances… God of all Generations… Faithful God… Architect of our Souls… Holy One… Skilled Potter… Consuming Fire… Helper of the Helpless… God of My Song… Spring of Living Water… Tender Shepherd… God of ALL… Gracious and Merciful God… True God… Strong Deliverer… Helper of the Weak… Hidden God… Our Source and Our End… Power that Shields… God of Radiance… Light of the Mind… God of Wonders… God of Freedom and Right… Eternal Source of Knowledge… The God Who Sees… God of All Creatures… All-knowing God… Ever Present God… God of My Salvation… Author of Life… Author of Our Faith… Bread of Life… Bright Morning Star… Cornerstone… Strong Foundation… Everlasting Father… Gentle Whisper… Giver of Life and Health… Living Water… Savior of the World… Teacher… Sustaining Vine… True God… God of the Morning, Noon and Evening of Life… Guide of the Meek… Guardian of Our Lives.

(Closing Prayer- silence for listening…)
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