Editor’s note: Today’s blog offers a departure from our usual content. This seems like the perfect topic to reflect on as we reach midsummer, however, so we wanted to share it with our faithful blog readers. May rest and renewal accompany your reflection.
by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Are you looking to carve out some time for yourself? Are you looking to connect with your faith? Are you looking to deepen your sense of the sacred in our midst? Come and retreat. This one-day retreat is designed for you. And the gift of this retreat is that you can take part right where you are.
It’s divided into three sections meant to fill one day. Each section has a scriptural reflection to center yourself. You’ll need a Bible, a candle, a cup, something to take pictures and a pen and paper.
I hope that we can take time for ourselves. To remember that we are loved. And to remember that the paths we take each day are sacred. And to remember that we don’t walk alone.
Come and retreat.
What does your ideal morning look like? Sleeping in? Drinking tea or coffee? Getting up to exercise?
Take one hour for yourself to do what you love. Find a space in your home where you feel at peace. Light a candle. Reflect on three things that bring you joy.
Gracious God, be close to me.
In the stillness and silence of this day,
In the wonder of creation,
In the sounds of life,
In the questions and doubts,
In the warmth and light,
Be close to me
And hear my prayers.
Section one: Home paths
This section takes place in your home–on those paths, you walk full of to-dos, anxiety, joy, hope, toys and memories.
Read Psalm 139.
Take some time to write or draw how you’re feeling. Write or draw what’s been going on in your life.
Grab a cup.
Look at the cup, feel it, and notice its shape and design. Think about the cup as a way to look deeper into your spiritual journey.
Does this quote resonate with you? “The ordinariness of the cup reminds me that my personal transformation occurs in the common crevices of each day. The cup is an apt image for the inner processes of growth. The cup has been a reminder of my spiritual thirst. As I’ve held it, filled it, drunk from it, emptied it and washed it, I’ve learned that it is through my ordinary human experiences that my thirst for God is quenched. In the cup I see life, with its emptiness, fullness, brokenness, flaws and blessings.”–Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Our Life: A Guide to Spiritual Growth, 1997.
Where in your life do you need to be filled up? What are some things you can pour out?
Section two: Neighborhood paths
This section takes place in your neighborhood, on those paths that you take to school and work and running errands.
Read Galatians 3:26-28.
Go into your neighborhood or town.
Pray for the people and places around you. Whether you personally know them or not doesn’t matter; simply pray for what you see. Pray for the people who live and work near you. For visitors. Pray for schools and gardens and places of employment. Pray for the challenges and joys of living in this place.
Feel the connection to the ground as you walk and pray. An African proverb tells us, “When you pray, move your feet.” Reflect on what difference it makes to pray for the people in our neighborhoods. Have you prayed while walking or exercising? Have you thought of serving your neighbor as prayer?
Section three: Nature paths
This section takes place in nature (for example, a park, a walking trail, woods, fields, near a body of water, etc.), on paths that connect you with God’s diverse and beautiful creation.
Read Job 12:7-10.
Go somewhere where you can get away into nature. The hope is to find a quiet place to be surrounded by God’s creation.
Walk. Sit by water. Lie on the grass. Notice your surroundings. Listen. Breathe. Be present.
Reflect on the following question: “Choose one facet of creation that you love. . . . Observe it, think about it, learn about it every chance you can, with this question in mind: if that element of creation were your only Bible, what would it tell you about God?”–Brian McLaren, We Make the Road By Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation, 2014.
Bring something to take pictures. As you walk, take photos of crosses that you see in your surroundings. Look in the trees, on the ground, on signs. Give thanks for God’s creation and presence all around.
Go back to that space in your home where you feel at peace. Light a candle. Reflect on your day: Where did you see God at work? Where did you find rest?
Loving Lord, thank you.
For this day. For rest. For family. For friends. For insights.
For a time of retreat.
Keep my eyes and heart open to your love surrounding me, this day and always.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of a toddler, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. In her free time, she can be found volunteering at the Sedalia Area Farmers’ Market, where she serves on the board. http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com
This article appeared in the July 2021 of Cafe(boldcafe.org). Read the complete article here.