Jacki’s Passion for Retreats

“Passions?”

Yes, passions!  I’m a frequent attendee and leader of retreats, from three-hour “minis” to week-long immersions.

For twenty years I have experienced a deepening appreciation, personal use and increased leadership of retreats for people of faith. “Passion” describes my strong, heart-felt conviction that we all need some version of a regular retreat. Perhaps it’s always been that way. Perhaps retreats are the remedy for a particularly imbalanced society and church. Perhaps (probably!) our biblical heritage of Sabbath-keeping is one way to understand the gift of retreat.

Beyond the literal ancient observance of Sabbath lie many other biblical principles that convict me of our common need. The psalmist hears God invite us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Following Christ’s resurrection, the disciples uprooted by grief and disorienting joy abide together in Jerusalem, awaiting together the plans and power of God. The epistle writers urge in many varying ways that we not forsake “assembling together.” Time and time again, I’ve seen renewal happen in the special retreat time, a renewal that sadly doesn’t always occur in the day-to-day “operations” of being disciples, of being church.

So, I’m passionate about the spiritual discipline of retreats. They have an ability to restore and reorient us to God’s work — work that may be in, through or despite us. What that time away looks like will surely vary from person to person, organization to organization, and season to season. The point is an intentional rhythm of consecration, an intentional habit of setting time aside to be uniquely receptive to God and one another.

These are the gifts I appreciate so much about retreats; consider them a glimpse into my leadership style and priorities. These will be present in some measure, tailored in unique combinations, in any vibrant retreat.

Slowing Down – The Gift to sleep a little later, move a little slower, and stop ‘working’ long before bedtime…

Stillness
— The Gift to ponder without producing, whether in nature’s beauty, around the fireplace or in prayer/meditation…

Play – The Gift to enjoy recreation (re-creation!) and leisure, whether alone or with those sacred souls with whom we’re so often working hard…

Creativity – The Gift to access our intuitive, opening side, whether in arts, music, cooking, movement (or even brainstorming!)…

Fellowship – The Gift to deepen intimacy in a setting that is sensitive to varying needs and styles of relationship-building…

Discernment – The Gift to listen alone or together, to name patterns and accept truths, to identify landmarks and Spirit’s call…

Commitments – The Gift to name response to emerging Truth, to set forth in language of heart and mind the fruits of retreat’s reflection…

Worship – The Gift to proclaim God’s empowering faithfulness amid the valleys and heights of our journey, and the Gift of attending to one another as the Body of Christ…

I believe the Christian gospel to be invitation to the abundant life of Jesus Christ. For this, I believe the Biblical patterns of journey, sabbath, discernment, surrender, solitude and community to be timeless. A “Living Well,” you might say.

Wherever you are on your personal journey of spiritual growth, I pray this stirs your own reflection on current habits and/or needs for retreat! Perhaps we’ll meet at a LWM-sponsored retreat, or at a retreat for your church or organization. Perhaps in our coaching session, I’ll support your exploration of a renewing retreat experience.

Wherever it is, here’s to the abundant life Jesus promised, here’s to “Living Well,” together.

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