Reflections after two months...

After worship and choir practice on Sunday, Dianne and I will be away for three days of retreat and renewal to reflect on what it means to be back in ministry. As part of our Lilly Foundation grant, we built in three such retreats over the course of the next year. We will have been back for seven weeks. It is time to step back and consider what we are hearing of the Holy Spirit in our experiences so far. Three things have already become clear:

+ One has to do with how east it is to get caught back up in busyness that truly does not require my presence. Not only do I get worn out from such things, but my music practice suffers. I am already applying a corrective. Charles Davis calls giving into these unnecessary demands "a form of self-inflicted violence." A recent meme on FB gave this reality clear shape and form.
+ Another has to do with my growing experience of centering and contemplative prayer. Nouwen and Rohr are right: we cannot sustain compassion and peace-making in the world without a strong and living encounter with God's grace deep within. "Prayer is leading every sorrow to the source of all healing, it is letting the warmth of Jesus’ love melt the cold anger of resentment; it is opening a space where joy replaces sadness, mercy supplants bitterness, love displaces fear, gentleness and care overcome hatred and indifference."

+ And then there is the nourishment of making certain to share dinner each night with Dianne by candle light and music.


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