A couple of weeks ago, 16 youth descended upon our cottage for what is now referred to as the Annual Amberlea Youth Cottage Retreat.
It was a wonderfully busy, loud and yet remarkably spiritual weekend. The theme was forgiveness: being forgiven, forgiving others and forgiving ourselves. Our youth director facilitated group sessions complete with activities and time for self reflection and prayer. It was wonderful to see these young people earnestly work through this very important topic. I had the privilege on Saturday night to lead the group in the sacrament of Communion - a clear and tangible reminder of God’s love and forgiveness for each of us. It was a very powerful time.
The best part of the “ cottage retreat” for me, besides the swimming, tubing, games, hanging out, eating meals together, and of course the s’mores, is that it gave me time to think about my personal relationship with God. Even though I was busy helping where I could, I was reminded of how important it is for us to take time to reflect and retreat spiritually.
We get so busy with our day to day lives that it’s almost like we’re stuck in a tunnel – just seeing what is right in front of us. But God calls us to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2). I think one of the best ways to do this is to find some time and reflect and pray. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go away on retreat – sometimes just going for a walk to pray can do the same thing.
And guess what? Jesus is a wonderful role model regarding this. When Jesus started to get busy with people crowding around him, this is what the Bible says He did:
He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. (Luke 5:16)
And at another time it says:
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35)
If Jesus did that, maybe we should try too?
This week, let’s endeavour set a time to get away from everything and pray, whether it’s in your car, in your bathroom or walking outside.
Personally, I do my greatest praying while I am in the car alone. I just talk out loud to God while passersby assume that I am on the phone - hands-free of course ;) When at the cottage, my most sacred times are when I am the first one swimming in the lake. I love when all I can hear is the movement of the water around me. For me it is a fully immersive spiritual experience.
What are those spiritual times for you?