This past weekend we held our first ever CORE (Young Adults/Professionals) retreat. The purpose of this retreat was to create intentional space to slow down and allow God to speak. In order to do that, we were to work through several of the spiritual disciplines that specifically help one to do that.

After work on Friday, we drove up to the beautiful house we rented outside of Tabernash.  As it was late, we simply hung out and got to know one another.

Saturday started with a big pancake breakfast.  Following that we started our day with some silence and solitude.  This discipline allows one to let go of all the stresses that life puts on them, eventually allowing room in your thoughts for God to speak.  After an hour and a half of this (which really isn’t enough time) we came back together.  As we debriefed, the constant theme was that this was difficult, but very needed.  You could tell that people were more relaxed and ready to go deeper with God after that.
After we debriefed, we started the second discipline: Study and Meditation.  Study is something, at least in our culture, that is fairly common.  We look at the context of the text, figure out what it would have meant to the original recipients and apply it to our lives.  We often simply read the Bible to get through it or just get knowledge.  With meditation, the discipline that we focused on here, we spent time becoming part of the text, becoming a participant in the story, allowing the story to speak to us in a real and personal way. As we debriefed after this, people spoke of how the scriptures came alive to them, how they were more than dead words on a page.  It was refreshing to have God’s word be meaningful again.
We then took a break and ate a simple lunch and watched it snow in the valley below us (the view was incredible!)
After lunch we started the third discipline: prayer and listening.  Perhaps the easiest of disciplines, we tried several new things.  The first was simply praying scripture.  There are so many places in the Bible where people cry out to God that we can use for ourselves.  Sometimes this frees us up from thinking too much about what we’re going to pray and allows us to focus on what we are praying. The second was intercessory prayer.  While we’re normally very good at this, we were reminded that God’s will isn’t always our own and to seek after his will first rather than telling him what we expect him to do. Finally we were encouraged to practice a listening prayer.  To simply ask God about a situation and simply listen.  This may be the toughest, but it is the one that most found they needed.  All found this time to be a huge benefit as they connected with God as a friend.
After a break, we took some time to practice Lectio Divina.  This is an ancient practice that incorporates many of the disciplines we had already practiced, but in a corporate way.  We focused on one passage at a time and in a prayerful way read through it three times.  The first time we looked for one word that stood out to us.  After a period of time, we share that one word or phrase with the group.  After the second reading we briefly shared what emotion these verses brought up in us, or what specific situation in our lives it was speaking to.  After the third reading and reflection, we spoke about what we felt God saying to us through this scripture.  Finally we simply rested in that knowledge for a good while.  Many of the participants found this to be their favorite part of the retreat.
Following a long break where many went for a walk in the snow or took a nap (and dinner was cooking), we partook in dinner and our final discipline: celebration.  This is an often overlooked discipline, but one we all enjoyed.  We dedicated the meal to God and spent the meal celebrating all that God had done in our lives and those around us.  It was great to hear all the stories and give credit to God for his greatness.  None of us had done anything like that and it was enjoyable for us all.
The evening was spent playing games and in fellowship with one another.
On Sunday all were encouraged to enjoy God’s creation and to be mindful of him as they did.  Because of the snow, most went home, though some did go skiing.
All said that the retreat was much needed and they look forward to when we do it again.
Looking forward to next year’s retreat!
Jon Shaw
Connections Director