Does the retreat feel like a million years ago? I don’t know what your week was like, but chances are the realities of your world didn’t get the invitation to return slowly. Instead you were probably slapped around a bit.
That is why we wanted this week’s theme to be memories. Because it is never too late to return slowly. God, in his gracious loving kindness towards you spoke to you during the retreat (or at some other time this spring for those who couldn’t participate in the retreat.). Even if you have been experiencing His “thin silence” as Elijah did. What echoes have you heard in silence?
God spoke to you, directly to you. What you needed to hear or learn or come at from a new direction. Part of returning slowly is to incorporate what you have learned into who you are and who you are becoming.
I am reading through A Year With God by Richard Foster and am spending time these days with the idea of worship.
“The worship experience of festivals emphasized memory, in this case the memory of the exodus experience [in our case, the story of Elijah]. That experience was one of deliverance and guidance [ditto]. The purpose of worship is to remember that experience, to live it, to rehearse and reenact it, and so to bring it into the present. The people then can see that God is still the one who delivers and guides and can remember to structure their lives on that basis and move into the future with hope. This kind of memory is extremely important to our spiritual life.”
This is the nugget I’ve been ruminating on in anticipation of the retreat and this week’s theme: The role of memory to help us “remember that experience, to live it, to rehearse and reenact it, and so to bring it into the present.”
So again I ask, what do you want to bring into the present from the retreat?
How can you remember it? (One way is to share in the comments or with someone.)
How can you live it? (What does this lesson mean for your life? For your interactions with God, yourself, and others?)
How can you rehearse the lesson or insight? How can you reenact it? (Maybe it is as simple as adding it to your listening prayer. Ask God where it was reenacted in your day.)
These questions are not meant to add to your “to-do” list. Actually, I believe that by doing less, we can do more. Instead of doing all the things, what is it that God showed you during the retreat? Do that. Do that a little bit each day. Watch it sprout and grow. Or watch the roots go deeper.
This post is shorter than normal so you won’t be tempted to think you have brought the memory of what God said to you into the present merely by reading this post. Even if you do not normally comment, please take a few minutes and leave a comment. Ask the Triune God how to bring the message he spoke to you into the present. Into your kitchens and commutes. Into your team and studies or work. Into your interactions.
How can your memory of the retreat reside in more than the rear view mirror?
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