Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Clergy Retreat; Listening to God 

I got back this afternoon from a 3 day clergy retreat at DaySpring. (Well, I didn't stay over the first night because I came back to play softball, but you already read about that.) The retreat was decent as far as retreats go. I was looking forward to some time to get to know the clergy of the diocese with whom I did not have any prior relationship and I was looking forward to some time for renewing old relationships. I got a lot of that and so it was good. However, for a clergy retreat with a focus on prayer and spirituality, there wasn't a lot of prayer and spirituality. The first night we were there, we had a fairly lackluster Evening Prayer service. The retreat leader, who was a well of wonderful knowledge and experience, did not lead us through as much experiential stuff as she could have, but opted instead to tell us about it. Maybe I just learn better by doing, but I yearned for that experience part, that connecting with God part. The experiential stuff she did lead was fantastic. There was also no Eucharist and I really wanted that. Compline was unfortunately cancelled on the one night it was scheduled because the wine and cheese tray had arrived. So, I guess I just wished for a bit more prayer and spirituality from the retreat that theoretically had prayer and spirituality as one of its main foci.

Thus, when I returned to work this afternoon and had to plan out the evening's youth group activities, I decided to do some of the things I had wished for during the retreat. Part of that was out of my own need and I understand that, but part of it was out of a tugging I've been feeling to give the youth group a language for prayer - different ways of understanding and doing prayer. The Holy Spirit was right it turns out, as is so often the case. I knew before the meeting began that I was going to close with a healing prayer circle, but even before we got to that I started sensing the need for it. In our Bible study time, some of the youth started sharing some hard things that they needed to get off their chests. Some of them expressed a desire to say more but could not bring themselves to do it. So, when we were ready to move into our Prayer time, the soil was fertile for the Holy Spirit to plant a seed. We prayed a lot. We cried. We joined together and I think we bonded in a tighter way. I felt it was good.

Then, about 15 minutes after we closed (and 60 minutes after we were suppossed to close!) my phone rang. It was someone who drives some of the youth home afterwards and she called to say that they were just overwhelmed on the way home with the power of God that they experienced tonight. So she said to them, "It sounds like God was really watching over you tonight." And they said, "That's exactly what we read tonight in Genesis." (Genesis 28:15 - "Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.")

God works in amazing ways.



My life has been a bit overwhelming right now, so it's nice to peek in on others' lives and see joy and God's hand.

By Blogger Gini Young, at 10:45 PM  

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