Last weekend was our second "Silent Retreat" hosted by Everyday Mission. It may sound intimidating and super-spiritual, but that is far from the truth. We did have some times of intentional silence (which makes for some awkward encounters at a state park with people NOT on a silent retreat). But we also had a lot of fun together just relaxing, eating good food, and sharing with each other how God's very real presence is actively changing us from the inside out. For me, it was a timely opportunity to find peace in the middle of a very busy season at work. Everyone felt like the Holy Spirit gave them some specific direction or encouragment. On Saturday night, with a fire going (yes, it actually got below 70 degrees in South Florida) and coffee in hand, we practiced Lectio Divina together and soaked in God's Word under a starlit sky.
Silence and solitude are invaluable spiritual practices to modern followers of Jesus. Sadly, we have become so accustomed to noise, activity, and technology, that a few hours of silence and being alone seems impossible to do on a regular basis. Everyday Mission wants to continue providing opportunities like this past weekend to help normal people (again...the people on the retreat this weekend were people with normal jobs and families - not monks!) experience more facets of God's Kingdom and to challenge some of our assumptions about modern life. We can be busy and active, but do we have to be constantly hurried and stressed? We can benefit from technology, but can we walk away intentionally to catch our breath and notice the world around us? We can work hard at our jobs and in ministry, but do we know that the real work happens in the quiet place with God?
Dallas Willard says that we need to learn how to "accept the grace of doing nothing." This is incredibly hard for us who live in a culture that values success, productivity, and excellence above all else. There seems to be no time to "waste time." But didn't Jesus say something about seeking his Kingdom first and all that other stuff (food, clothes, money, and even time for the so-called important things) will be added to us? That is why solitude and silence are so valuable.
Will you consider joining us during the next retreat? Send us your contact information and we'll make sure you get a personal invitiation.