Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Breathing Cool, Fresh Air

I'm up at ShrineMont, the diocesan camp and retreat center in the mountains hard by West Virginia. Our diocesan bishop has invited all the clergy to have a retreat...I came up on Sunday afternoon for a meeting of the Commission on Ministry, Committees on the Priesthood and on the Diaconate, and several other related groups. So 24 hours of useful workf ro the larger church now transforms into a few days of reflection, prayer, and spiritual recharging. We start with Morning Prayer and end with worship - today a day that stretched from 8 am to 9:30 pm. And yet, despite the long hours, it is restful and calm and soul-feeding.

The challenge and the blessing of this clergy conference is the huge number of people here whom I know and who want to engage in conversation. I'm an introvert and dealing with so much interaction is a tad overwhelming. I'm grateful for a single room into which I can retreat when necessary, and roads to walk on unencumbered by the need to talk to anyone. I love 'em all (mostly) but it's not where I get my energy.

And yet I'm challenged by what our retreat master, the Bishop of Liverpool, said this morning: God does not work in solitude, but in community, in partnership with others. How to find that delicate balance point between necessary quiet space and community? Always a question for me...

...which reminded us of that old saw that God does not answer questions, but questions our answers, which made me laugh out loud and shake my head at the beautiful absurdity of our work sometimes.

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