Friday, March 30, 2012

Removing Myself

This weekend our church is having a women's retreat - the first one we've had in quite a long while. While many things pull at my shirt tail to keep me home, I am prying their grip and heading to the mountains.

As I prepare for this time away, I consider this idea of retreat. Let me continue to introduce you to Conversations Journal with the article "Thin Times and Thin Places," written by Margaret Guenther. In this excerpt, she contemplates the idea of retreating and Jesus' own example. She writes,

For me a retreat is a prayerful going apart, removing myself for a brief time from the clutter and busyness of everyday life. I’ve learned about this from Jesus. Again and again, he simply walks away from activity - preaching, teaching, healing, sharing meals with friends, and sparring skillfully with those who would trip him up. He goes away to pray, sometimes with his friends and sometimes alone. We’re not sure exactly what this means: Scripture is very sparing of details about means and method. Sometimes the crowd follows him, and often it is waiting when he returns. Remember his return from the Mount of Transfiguration: he enters immediately into a scene of agitation and activity, where the disciples have tried in vain to heal the epileptic boy, the scribes are arguing, and the crowd is surging. Real life is never far away.

The lesson here is clear: the retreat comes in the midst of life with all its demands. “Real life” awaits us upon our return. If we wait until there is time, we will never follow Jesus’ example and go apart.
How true! How often do we deny ourselve these moments of retreat and renewal because we have so many other demands vying for our time and attention? If we wait for a good time to get away, we'll never get there. These words of Ms. Guenther were so good and timely as I prepare to leave behind soccer games, tennis lessons, and loads of laundry and enter into a time of personal and communal retreat.

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