I spent the weekend at a Catholic retreat center in Indianapolis to be part of a program that had “Rest and Renewal” in the title! It was good to get away and be still before God. During the program we looked at some Bible passages and how they can apply to our lives. It was like a mini Via de Cristo with small group sharing, fellowship, and talks on the Christian life. During Saturday’s free time it was nice outside and great to walk the grounds. It’s a good idea, I think, to have scheduled time away to renew and rest.
Since this was a Catholic event and retreat house they held Mass once each day. Non Catholics are invited and welcomed, I just could not have Communion with them. Much of the Mass is familiar, however, because of the “liturgy” used in our Lutheran form of worship. Defined as “the work of the people” liturgy is the order to a given worship service. I like a little order in my life, but unfortunately that doesn’t always happen! It is exactly when “disorder comes” we need to get away and renew ourselves. That can happen in a multitude of ways even just stopping for a breath, saying quiet prayers, reading a good book, talking out some problem within a reunion group, or calling a brother or sister we served with. All of us in the VDC are lucky and blessed to have one another. Our common experience is not exclusive, but rather we are “inclusive!” And don’t forget our Pilgrims Guide is designed to be a daily devotional book to renew the soul. The songs can be sung or read, there are Bible passages and liturgy and prayers all packed into that little book we often tuck away after our weekend.
At the retreat, the Priest and the others in attendance made me feel welcomed and included, it was hard to “feel” that included since I am not Catholic. Denominations aside, we can rejoice today because we have a God who includes us all! It doesn’t matter where we have come from, what our religious background is or isn’t, the color of our skin, the amount of hair on our head, or our past sins, present sins nor future sins. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God…” (Romans 8:31-39). This is Good News for those of us who sometimes feel left out or lost and alone. God includes us, God welcomes us, God loves us and God is forever filling our empty places with rest and renewal that only God can provide! Isn’t that why we made our weekend in the first place? Want to feel the magic of your weekend all over again on a grand level? Check out the website and come to the national meeting in July. You won’t be sorry you took time out for “rest and renewal!” Visit www.viadecristo.org!
We just changed our clocks and the weather should be better this week here in Indiana. We are rushing toward Spring. As God renews the earth for this season, may God also renew your heart and life as well! Happy Almost Spring…rest in the love and grace of Jesus!
Pastor Doug Givan
“A kind word warms three winter months” Japanese proverb