The Lounge (my young-adult community at Tenth) went to Galiano Island for a retreat this weekend. We stayed in a lovely, large house with lots of sleeping space upstairs and downstairs and a huge common room in the middle, lined with windows, bookshelves (I definitely noticed some C.S. Lewis selections in there, as well as Elie Wiesel’s Night, which I want to read, and a bunch of other quality titles- love it when cottages have hefty libraries!!) and lots of comfy seating (meaning wicker furniture with cushions).
The speaker’s name was Liesl and her topic was “How Do We Hear God?” (a topic that has been addressed numerous times in my life lately through talks, readings and podcasts). We looked at Mark 2:23-3:6, where the Jesus heals the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath in front of the Pharisees, and we tried to define the Pharisees’ theology vs. Jesus’ theology. In other words, what do these opposing characters say about the God they serve? Both people experienced anger over their image of God being challenged. What they did with this anger/upset reflects how they perceive God, and reflects how we all perceive God, I believe. How often do we get upset when God doesn’t fit into our theological system? How much do we think we have to “make allowances” for His plans? How much do we trust that He is infinitely creative and has the power to redeem our messes and the messes of this world (ie. natural disasters and disease)?
Another recurring phrase for me this weekend was “Our highest act is responsive, not iniative.” God has done; now we are to respond. Of course, this gives rise to the question, “What has God done?” … I think that the answer lies in the fact that God IS and that He has chosen to create! Another point that was raised this weekend was that, in the OT, one of the greatest (perhaps the greatest) promise God offers us is His presence. Like in the burning bush event… God tells Moses, “I AM.” God IS. Our response to His presence is our greatest act. Our life’s challenge is to live in response to His presence. Not only His existence, and this is important. God isn’t a fearful, wrathful, far-off Being. He is here, present, willing to engage and help teach you. He deserves to be waited for and called out for. He needs to be addressed, whether that be praise or lament.
Other weekend highlights included s’mores, a 3-girl vs 6-guy Taboo game (the girls won, of course), naps in the late afternoon, cute pastors’ kids, walks to the beach, stone skipping, yummy meals and worship. I feel spiritually relaxed and ready for the week.