On Retreat: Day Three

Peace Be Still; Peace Be Still; the Storm Rages; Peace be still.

-Stephen Iverson

This week is flying by!  It is so energizing to spend time in community with ministers, and to find that we have so much to share with one another.  I am relishing the time on retreat, and even, dare I say, feeling a bit of sorrow to leave each evening… part of me wishes I could stay the evening with the group.

This time tomorrow, our time together will have ended, but for now I have the pleasant opportunity to bask in the experience.  The music, thanks to Stephen Iverson, has been absolutely amazing; the worship has been peaceful; the conversation, thanks to Judy Yates Siker, has been fruitful.  Our time today in the stories of Lent will most certainly have an impact on our liturgical experience in the coming year, and I have so much to think about besides.

What I am interested most to share is our wrestling with the Scriptures today.  We spent our reflection time in imaginative dialogue with characters from the Scripture texts.  Beginning with the temptation and in conversation with the Tempter in Matthew 4, and then later with the Storyteller who speaks the story of the Blind Man in John 9, I had the opportunity to work in a new way with the texts of the season.  The permission to use imagination and creativity in my preparation was an opportunity that has lent itself to discovery, personally.  To begin, HDS didn’t spend a whole lot of class time on much other than the academic enterprise of study and reflection.  The concept of praying and wrestling with a text with one’s hands or one’s artistic brain was not something that was done.  I believe this was a weakness in our education, for I have found both yesterday and today that the creative mode is an absolutely wonderful way to enter scripture.  Now, don’t get me wrong here– I’m not saying that making a cup out of clay is the answer to all one’s sermon ruts–but what I am suggesting is that perhaps we go too quickly to the commentaries, rather than sitting with the gem of our own minds and our own imaginations for a while as we process text.  Certainly I am quick to step away from the text and towards another’s intellectual wrestling with it.  But to let it enter you to the point where it lives in a dialogue imagined or in the stroke of a paintbrush–that is exciting.

Ultimately, I guess I look forward to seeing what we will explore tomorrow, and in figuring out how all this might work in my life back home–back in the thick of it, as some might put it.

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