The word retreat doesn’t carry many positive connotations in our culture. Perhaps it is too closely related to defeat and surrender. We can get so caught up in our lives of productivity and action, even doing all kinds of good things (things for God), that we lose sight of the need for retreat and rest.
Scripture and Christian tradition commend the practices of withdrawal and retreat in order to press into the life of God. The practice of sabbath, as a reflection of God’s own rest on the seventh day of creation, is a rhythm of retreat from work and productivity. The Gospels depict Jesus’ own rhythm of withdrawal and retreat from the demands of his ministry. Through the ages Christian saints have followed this Christ-like pattern, woven in creation, recognizing that to be faithful image bearers of God, practicing rhythms of rest, retreat, and withdrawal are essential.
This fall we have a couple of opportunities for retreat that I am excited about. First, Mike and Carol Watson will be leading married couples through a Friday and Saturday retreat at the end of this month. I’m excited for this time together and all that it can mean in the life of the marriages in our church, and I’m grateful to Mike and Carol for openly sharing their wisdom with us. Check out details and sign up >
Also, next month we will have our first-ever Parish Retreat. In order to make this as accessible to as many at COTC as possible, we are doing an all-day, one day retreat on Saturday, Oct. 21. We will be at Austin Sunshine Camp within beautiful Zilker Park in the center of Austin. We will begin with breakfast around 9 a.m. and wrap up after dinner (served around 5 p.m.). Childcare will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and our Bishop, Todd Hunter, will be teaching (and also preaching at worship on Sunday, Oct. 22). Sign up here before Oct. 1 to get the best price.
I’m really excited for this retreat for a couple of specific reasons.
First: When we step out of our regular rhythms we are often made more open to what God has for us. Stepping away, even for a day, from the regular stuff of work, home, and family can give us fresh eyes and ears to see and hear what God is doing. What an opportunity to do this together!
Second: This is a tremendous opportunity to grow in our identity with and understanding of Anglicanism. I sometimes joke that most of us have been Anglican “for about half an hour”! The vast majority of us do not come from the Anglican spiritual tradition and we’re learning as we go. Our Bishop is one of the most articulate voices I know of commending the Anglican heritage as a sustainable and livable way of following Jesus in the 21st century. He is a wise disciple of Jesus and I’m excited for us to hear from him.
Third: Retreats like this are a great opportunity for us to grow in community together. A day like this often results in a depth of conversation and relationship that can only come about from five or six weeks of Sundays. As we seek to be a people together in Christ, retreat together can be such a gift.
Finally, these times together are a lot of fun. The opportunity to spend a day together with y’all, in the beauty and fun of Zilker Park (we’re planning to spend the afternoon having fun in the park together), is simply too good to pass up!
I look forward to seeing you there!