Have you ever been away on a retreat, completely away from your normal, hectic life? DH and DD have to stay home, but this weekend I get to be at a "RETREAT"... with
about 120 other Christian women.
Retreat defined is "a place one goes for peace" (kind of hard to imagine 120 women being in the midst of peace when they're all together...'cause we're gonna be talking and sharing I'm sure, especially during our breaks and free time).
As I ponder our up-coming weekend of "peace", the synonyms of retreat give me cause to look up their meanings--the first is a word I don't remember having heard: adytum--a sacred place the public was forbidden to enter; an inner shrine
We will travel to this far-away, peaceful place which will become an inner shrine for this week-end group...this one special time to acknowledge a week-end peace, ours to recognize and claim. We must be intentional about recognizing it as an inner shrine.
Just as Noah's family and their animals were secluded on the ark--in their refuge, not exactly knowing the outcome once the door was closed and the rains began. I hear we are expecting a lot of rain this weekend, hhhhmmm, a coincidence?, or a creative way to get our attention by keeping us inside, out of the showers and storms that are expected? I know God has a Word to share with each of us in our "ark" of this weekend. We may not know what the plan will be after we open our door and get off "our ark" Sunday evening.
What Word will He be sharing with me? I'm eager to hear what He has laid on the hearts of our speakers. Their time has been spent readying their presentations for us, for me...I must be intentional to turn my attention away from the world--away while in this hermitage. The more intentionally I put away the world, the better I will hear His guidance through our speakers. I don't want to miss "hearing" during this get-away, during this weekend peace.
In addition to large group time, we will have seclusive time in our small groups, meeting and sharing with one another. In this remoteness, I pray to be more open so I may respond to someone's questions or concerns. My being there might be for the support instead of for me, or to possibly be an open ear just to listen as a sister pours out her heart or wants to vent or repent, each so sacred in its own right.
During this week-end sanctuary, I must provide immunity from judgment and immunity from impatience...here more than anywhere else I must value our differences and patiently listen. We will be on equal footing, equal status in the eyes of our Lord, all loved and cherished. He will be guarding each of us individually and us as a community; we will be secure in His Word as we study it, discuss it and possibly question it.
Having been on many "get aways", I have well-founded confidence each will return changed in some way, rejuvenated from the quiet, and filled with the joy of His grace and the love He has for each of us.
I don't want to waste "this peace" ... for "I will never pass this way again" with this same gathering of women.
(Oh, I'm showing my age...that sounds a lot like an old Seals and Croft song from the early 70's)