Have you ever been in a mall and thrown a nickel into one of those large, funnel-shaped, coin banks? The coin circles around the top several times, over and over, being held in place by the centrifugal force. Gradually, it goes deeper and deeper as it circles faster and faster, all the way down the vortex. It eventually drops into the depths along with all the other coins that have gone before it.
Our spiritual formation journey is similar to that nickel. We circle round and round through the vortex of daily life maintaining ourselves with prayer, Bible reading and attempts at loving others the best we can. All this is in the midst of work, relationships, and church activities. Going on retreat is the invitation and force that draws me away from it all, to go deeper and deeper into intimate communion with God. Responding to Jesus’ invitation to ‘Come away’ with him opens the door to receiving more of his love, bringing me to a deeper transformation and maturity.
_Come away with me! I have come as you have asked to draw you to my heart and lead you out. _
Song of Songs 2:10
A silent, directed retreat offers an opportunity to focus on my relationship with God, open my heart to deeper connection through His love and acceptance, and remember my true identity as his beloved. In the solitude and silence of meditation on scripture, this extravagant love gives me a clearer vision of my purpose and calling in life. It’s not always about learning something new. Time to savor Truth and soak in Love is the transforming gift. Enjoying nature expands my experience of God’s vast wisdom and glory. Walking the circuits of a labyrinth draws me into the Spirit’s perspective on the paths of my life: Past, present and future. No retreat is complete without a nap restoring my body as well as my soul. My conversation with God is uninterrupted as I meditate on artwork or color my own picture. The icing on the cake is celebrating with the other retreatants the ways God has shown up for each of us, as we close our time together. We have each tasted and seen the goodness of God.
“Retreat is a generous commitment to friendship with God: one that ...will form us in Jesus Christ.” - Emilie Griffin, Wilderness Time