Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Jubilee Retreat (the follow up)

Hello all...a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks that give me more things to talk about than I can seem to find time for! But I will try to post a couple things today. First and foremost, our Jubilee Retreat a weekend ago went really well. There are tons of links below (in an earlier post) to everyone involved, but I'll highlight some of the stuff that happened over the weekend. Stephen has a great synopsis here along with his reflections that give some perspective of the retreat. I couldn't have asked for a better partner to plan and lead a retreat with. I hope this is the first of many trips we will do together!

Our speaker for the retreat was Jon Middendorf, a youth-pastor-become-senior-pastor at a church in Oklahoma City. Jon is a great guy, let me say that off the bat. We had great conversation, some good laughs, and shared some of the stories that are our lives together. We talked about how we began to be interested in the emerging conversation, and connected our journeys together through books, ideas, and the hopes and dreams of God for our world. Jon is an excellent speaker, casting grand visions of what the kingdom of God is like, how it comes about in the practice of Jubilee, and how it impacts the various relationships in our lives. Whether with God, personal, global, local, familial, or with creation, Jon helped our students to begin to recognize ways that God is seeking to reconcile the whole of creation in Christ. On a side note, Jon is a tall dude...please let this picture fool you into thinking that I am taller than I really am. I am standing on my tip-toes in this picture and Jon is laughing at me. Big thanks to Jon for traveling out to work with some crazy Baptist youth workers.

LivingStone Monastery where we stayed was a seriously awesome retreat location. The artwork around the monastery, the people who took care of us, and the ease with which things flowed seamlessly together helped make the retreat such an awesome experience. We couldn't have asked for anything better. They prepared our meals, they provided space for our worship gatherings, and they provided housing for us to stay. The care for our students and the excellence with which things were done helped make the trip go so well. They were flexible when things ran over time, and they worked with us when we had questions. A big thanks to Chris for working with our groups and helping us make this retreat happen!

Two of the most significant parts of the retreat for me personally were when we sang the theme song of the retreat "Give Reviving" and when we participated in communion together. Give Reviving is a beautiful hymn, redone by Chelsey Scott for the latest Indelible Grace project Wake Thy Slumbering Children. The lyrics of this song brought into an art form, the ideas, visions, and dreams that we hoped to inspire in our students during the retreat. Below are the lyrics and also a video that Stephen took of Kent and Tim playing the song during the retreat from his digital camera. Kent, Tim, and Andrea simply did a beautiful collaboration of work and art to help lead us into worship through images and music. I can't begin to thank these friends enough for their help in planning the retreat and working with us. They helped make the worship gatherings the beautiful experiences that they were, and I hope we'll get to do something like this again together!

Give Reviving

1. Father for Thy, promised blessing,
Still we plead before Thy throne
For the times of, sweet refreshing,
Which can come from Thee alone
Blessed earnests, Thou hast given,
But in these we would not rest
Blessings still with, Thee are hidden,
Pour them forth and make us blest!

2. Prayer ascendeth to Thee ever,
Answer! Father, answer prayer
Bless oh bless each, weak endeavor,
Blood-bought pardon to declare
Wake Thy slumbering, children wake them,
Bid them to Thy harvest go
Blessings O our, Father make,
Round their steps let blessings flow

3. Let no people be forgotten,
Let Thy showers on all descend
That in one loud blessed anthem,
millions may in triumph blend
Give reviving, give refreshing,
Give the looked-for Jubilee
To Thyself may, crowds be pressing,
Bringing glory unto Thee

Tag: Give reviving, give refreshing,
Give the looked-for Jubilee
To Thyself may, crowds be pressing,
Bringing glory unto Thee

© 2007 Innocent Smith (admin by The Loving Company)/
Petit Bateaux Music (ASCAP).
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lastly, our time of communion, and our participation in the Eucharist was one of the most moving times I've had with God in community for a while. After Jon set up our time, he invited Stephen and I to share the bread and cup with everyone. Stephen held the bread as each person came up, broke off a piece of bread as Stephen looked into their eyes and told them, "This is the body of Christ, broken for you." Then each person came to the cup, where they dipped the bread and I looked into their eyes and said, "This is the blood of Christ, shed for you." It had been a while since I've done communion by intinction, and for a few minutes, I felt like I was able to see people as I imagine God sees us. I was swelled up by this sense of hope and love, that Jubilee is possible, that each of us in Christ are able to join together to help fulfill the hopes and dreams of God for our world. For a few brief minutes, I lived in the reality that this was the sense of compassion, love, and hope that Jesus felt for the people he came in contact with during his life. Or maybe it was looking into the eyes of students and close friends, and feeling a deep sense of mystery being enacted, with the locus of meaning found in the reconciling Christ of my imagination and hopes. Whatever the reasons, and perhaps for others than I've mentioned, God seemed real and present in a way not often sensed for me.

There is so much more to share, and for a better break-down of the retreat, check out Stephen's post, but I thought I wouldn't traverse the same terrain, but share my experience of the retreat a bit. I'll try to post some other things today that are happening in the world of Josh and Shey. But I wanted to process the retreat a bit, and catch folks up who were wondering how it went. Thanks to everyone who helped make our retreat such a great experience.


Robyn said...

Thanks for the post. I've been wondering how everything went. :)

Tom said...

Good times and good memories man. What a way to bring your stories together. Glad you and Stephen had a good time planning and retreating.