Thursday afternoon I head up to Quarryville, PA, just south of Lancaster, to Black Rock Retreat Center for a 20-hour silent retreat with a few other pastors from the Maryland/Delaware state convention. Although I wish it were longer than twenty hours, I'll take what I can get.
Pastoring is fast-paced work, no more so than many other professions, perhaps, but no less so. It's hard to schedule this kind of time away--well, easy perhaps to schedule it, harder to actually take it. There are so many voices that I have to listen to, often saying competing things, and the cacophony can drown out the one Voice that really matters.
I'm hoping that sometime in these 20 hours, I'll get to hear that Voice, even if for only a second.
One second of the Voice is better than hours of other voices.
Laptops are prohibited. This is not sermon planning or preparation time. It's just time for me and the Voice.
Cell phones are allowed but only for checking in at designated times. If that sounds controlling, it's not. Constant availability to everyone also gets in the way of listening to the Voice. I'd leave my cell phone at home if that were an option, but Pam likes me to check in. And it's good for road emergencies. Cell phones are good for those things; when did we let them take over our lives?
If you would, pray for me while I'm listening for the Voice. The retreat begins tomorrow at 4 p.m. and ends Friday at lunch.
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