Some of you may have noticed that I have been rather silent over the last few days. That is because Tom and I along with our golden retriever Bonnie have been away on retreat. This is something that we try to do each year during Advent. We book into a doggie friendly motel up at Anacortes and spend 2 days reflecting, listening to God and refocusing. We look back over our journals for the last few months, read scripture and spend time in quiet reflection and contemplation interspersed with times of sharing and listening to each other.
This has been a very good retreat for both of us and I personally have returned with a renewed sense of commitment to God’s call on my life and renewed zeal to live into God’s kingdom ways. Particularly during these turbulent times in which we live, I find that this discipline more than anything renews my trust in God and confidence in God’s love and compassion.
As I spent time in peace and quiet I realized how easy it is for me to become inwardly focused and disconnect from the insecurities and fears of those around me. This is a time for me to engage the world not ignore it. It is a time to live into God’s love and not allow the fears of this world to overcome me. It is a time to encourage others to live out of God’s generosity not out of the world’s scarsity.
As I read back over my journals I was reminded of NT Wright’s assertion that the language of God’s new world is the language of love and as Jean Vanier explains
“To love is a way of looking, of touching, of listening to all.” (Jean Vanier: Essential Writings, p44).
And that of course brings me to John 13:35
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Surely this is what our faith should be about. Maybe then those outside the faith would sit up and take notice.
My plan for the rest of Advent is to continue reflecting on practical ways in which I can be God’s compassionate response in this challenging time and then get out and get involved. What are the practical ways in which you are being God’s compassionate response to others at this time?