The Rector's Blog
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October 22, 2015, 1:06 PM

Sabbath and Retreat

After a fairly hectic September and October (with many meetings out of town on days I ordinarily don’t have to work plus a cold), and the expectation that the next couple of months in the run-up to Advent and Christmas will be hectic, I am planning to take a few days of rest and renewal with clergy women colleagues at the Community of the Transfiguration in Glendale, Ohio next week.

Making an annual retreat is one of the Bishop’s expectations for all clergy, so I get “brownie points” for this gift, but more importantly, I should be able to return to you recharged and raring to go, all rested and ready for the weeks to come.

 I expect some of you may be feeling a bit jealous right about now, and I can understand that, because it can be very difficult to find the time and the occasion to do something like this in our lives these days.  There are just so many requirements and calls and expectations on our time. 

I frequently meet people who can’t take vacation or even sick leave from their employment at the risk of not having employment any more.  And I know many of you, even those who are retired, have full schedules that might include family visits, theater series, golf outings and fishing trips, or whatever. 

I find it exceedingly difficult to find time for such things as retreats as well – after all, there is always plenty to do in the office here, and planning and strategizing, and pastoral calls and visits, letters to write, and meetings to attend.

But the Bishop insists, and you still pay me, so I can do this on occasion.  I am grateful to you for allowing me this time!

Sabbath and retreat have Scriptural warrant as well.  If you read the books that deal with the Israelites in their desert wanderings of the Exodus, you will find many rules regarding Sabbaths.  There are Sabbath days: the Jewish Shabbat that begins when the sun goes down on Fridays; a seventh-year Sabbath for the land so it can recharges; a seventy-year Sabbath on any land transfers that ensure the original (true) owner of land may recover it, as well as Sabbath releases from debt and slavery.

Stopping, reflecting, recharging, recovering, and starting over are, apparently, very important for human beings in their status as the children of God.  Renewal of the relationship, rebooting, as it were, our lives, is a key part of our discipleship.

Can you think of ways your discipleship walk can be recharged by rest and reflection?

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