It was the last thing I wanted. I was busy and feeling constrained by time. This Retreat would bump my weekly day-off to Monday, ‘again’. And I had the perfect excuse to dodge our church leadership’s retreat to West Kilbride Parish Church’s lower hall. It would’ve been very easy to cancel our annual pause to hear God together. Alas, I knew that we needed this time-out and was determined not to allow the temptation to hug comfort and feel sorry for myself to divert us. So on Saturday, 17 of us went to West Kilbride, and it was the RIGHT decision!

 

Have you found that sometimes, it is when you least feel like doing something that you find great benefit flows from it? It was humbling as we read and re-read two particular Bible passages and listened to each other as we journaled, prayer-walked, used arts & crafts, took photos, meditated, reflected and looked forward with hope.

 

There are great challenges and opportunities which lie ahead as we prepare to work more closely together with one another in the Irvine churches.  Here are the two Scriptures that continue to resonate and reverberate with us as we journey on from Saturday’s Retreat. Zephaniah 3:9 has God promising to purify our conversations, which will lead us into united prayer for God to act in our town and wholehearted dedication in working together ‘shoulder to shoulder’.

 

“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,

    that all of them may call on the name of the Lord

    and serve him shoulder to shoulder.” (NIV)

 

And John 17:20-26 (NIV) encourages us with Jesus’ very own prayers for us here and now:

 

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

 

Actually I prefer to call our ‘Retreats’ ‘ADVANCES’, for we retreat to advance. What might feel, or seem, like a complete waste of time and backward step in reality can become a potent, pregnant pause, able to grow within us vision and deep-seated determination to see God’s Will be done in our church, community, town and Land. Lead on Lord Jesus Christ!