Retreat: to intentionally take time away to spend time with God.
Our lives are so busy these days, pressures or work, family or caring responsibilities. Smartphones keep us up to date with emails and text messages wherever we are and whatever time of day. Social media can be another pressure – to keep up to date with what everyone is doing and of course to post our latest adventure, gem of wisdom, or photograph of a cat. We are bombarded with 24/7 media coverage of the world that sometimes it seems like a cacophony of noise that constantly invades our lives. All that noise, all that busyness can drown out the still small voice of calm that is essential to all of us.
Conversely, some of us have too much silence, perhaps we live alone or struggle to engage with others in social situations, then the internal voices of doubt, negativity and anxiety can be the sounds that are our only companions. They too can drown out the still small voice of calm that is God speaking to our hearts and minds.
So how do we make time and space to listen to that still small voice of calm? One way is to spend some quiet time each day in prayer or meditation, consciously turning off all the extraneous noise and being still. It takes practice to ignore the constant demands of the world, but just a short time each day can really make a difference to our lives and to our relationship with God. Another way is to go on retreat. To intentionally take time away to be with God. We are not all fortunate enough to be able to take time away from our schedules to spend time at a retreat centre, but I am hopeful that we will be able to ‘retreat from daily life’ soon at St Cuthbert’s chapel in Princethorpe.
There is still a lot of work to do to make that hope a reality, but early in August we had the pleasure of welcoming Gemma Took to the Benefice to run a quiet morning for us at St Cuthbert’s, a real foretaste of what I would like to us to offer on a regular basis.
So perhaps, if you aren’t able to take a retreat of a couple of days in a retreat centre, a half day or full day retreat at St Cuthbert’s might be the opportunity for you to try something new, to spend time ‘away’, to purposefully set aside some time for God and just rest in God’s presence. So keep your eyes on the Pendulum or the website for opportunities here in the Benefice.
In the meantime, if the busyness or the silence is becoming too much for you to bear on your own, please don’t hesitate to get in touch
Engaging the silence
First there is prayer
and where there is prayer there may be miracles
but where miracles may not be there are questions
and where there are questions there may be silence
but silence may be more than absence
silence may be presence muted
silence may not be nothing but something
to explore, defy, accuse, engage
and this is prayer
and where there is prayer
there may yet be miracles…
Pete Grieg (God on Mute)