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Hallo again to all,

Earlier this afternoon, we returned from a brief holiday. We had, as a family, retreated to a cabin in the woods at a camp we've visited for several years. It was certainly not the sort of deliberate, Christ-centered retreat specifically programmed to deepen our spirituality we often think of, either individually or with a group of fellow parishioners or colleagues. However, it was also not the sort of holiday in which we explored museums, churches, and local history, and visited small local shops. Rather we spent time both together and apart, basking in God's creation. Sometimes simply by staring out the window, other times on the water in a boat, or sitting around a fire. The light rain early in our trip gave us a sort of permission to do little. We watched a family of deer graze on some grass, a chipmunk ran by on his way to somewhere clearly Very Important, and a large twig fell gently from a tree into the rear garden. In short, we were able to just be. Be with our selves, be with our family, be with creation.

Retreat is a common theme in the Bible. We are not talking, of course, of the literal retreat as used in modern use—of the drawing back of armies in the face of likely defeat.* Rather, Jesus's trend of stepping back to pray. Only a few weeks ago we recalled his retreat to the Garden at Gethsemane, where he spent his evening in agony before he died. Sad and angry with his disciples for not staying and praying with him. But more often, we hear of Jesus withdrawing directly before or after teaching or performing miracles. Luke writes 'now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.' More specifically, John writes of Jesus withdrawing alone following his concern of the recently fed five thousand trying to make him king, and did not rejoin them until late that night, when he met them by walking on water. Mark writes of Jesus withdrawing from multitudes and going to a mountainside with his disciples to talk about future roles.

Finding a temporary place and time away—not cloistered or anchored—but a temporary break from the every day is so very important. We've found our holidays are often so over-planned and busy, that though enjoyable, we need a holiday from the holiday! Planned formal retreats, though valuable and refreshing, are often still exhausting. We are grateful for our forced time with God. God alone—insofar as that is possible—and God with others. We are restored in our time of rest, full of joy, and full of love and possibility.  We leave you with a poem that spoke to us in our own moment of be-ing. In hopes that you may find time, in this busy, scary, overwhelming world, to just be, and be with God.

Clasping of Hands, George Herbert
Lord, thou art mine, and I am thine,
If mine I am: and thine much more,
Then I or ought, or can be mine.
Yet to be thine, doth me restore;
So that again I now am mine,
And with advantage mine the more,
Since this being mine, brings with it thine,
And thou with me dost thee restore.
         If I without thee would be mine,
         I neither should be mine nor thine.

Lord, I am thine, and thou art mine:
So mine thou art, that something more
I may presume thee mine, then thine.
For thou didst suffer to restore
Not thee, but me, and to be mine,
And with advantage mine the more,
Since thou in death wast none of thine,
Yet then as mine didst me restore.
         O be mine still! still make me thine!
         Or rather make no Thine and Mine!

See you next week.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

12 May 2019

*This is, of course, not unknown in the bible, one prominent example being the retreat of the Egyptians in the face of the oncoming, previously split water in Exodus 14.
†Though that is admirable as well

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