Reflecting on My Spiritual Retreat

I’m thankful that I was able to retreat for two days this week. I try to take at least one two-day spiritual retreat per year.  In the past I’ve done it at a retreat centre. This time, I spent some time at a local camp, which was more convenient for my family.  So, what happened on my retreat?  On one hand, nothing.  That is, one of the main purposes of a spiritual retreat is to slow things down enough in your life, so you can more readily listen to God—to do “nothing” in his presence.  And I’m pleased to report that this happened.  Spending time alone with the Lord in solitude and silence, I was able to spend considerable time listening to him through Scripture, and then respond in prayer.  I meditated on the following Bible passages: Psalm 46; Matthew 5-7; the book of Jonah; Paul’s Letter to the Galatians; and Romans 8.  Through these texts, the Lord called me to “be still and know that He is God.” He also called me to trust in him for all my needs.  And to abide in Him, so I remain fruitful and faithful.  I also read a book by Eugene Peterson, a long-time mentor in writing.  Rev. Peterson called me to remain faithful to my calling as pastor, even when challenges come—and they will come!  And to spend considerable time nurturing my soul as pastor through the holy habits of common worship, praying the Psalms daily, and praying simple prayers throughout the day. I’m grateful for the chance to nurture my soul on retreat, so I can more effectively nurture the souls of my people. The best gift a pastor can give to his congregation is his transformed self.

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