Place is important to many of us embodied creatures. This week I’ve been up to New Norcia for an overnight retreat by myself. It was a lovely time. . . stillness, rest, reading, prayer. It’s a quarterly rhythm that brings me renewed life and after a very full few months it was a much-needed couple of days. What struck me is the way in which I quickly went into the space of rest, prayer and reflection. Part of that is the place that New Norcia is (even more so now that most of the traffic doesn’t go through the town); but part of it is that it is a place where I have a history of meeting with God, of resting deeply in Him and being renewed – and often challenged. I was talking to another person, also staying in the guesthouse, who was visiting New Norcia for the first time for some rest, prayer and reflection. He was very aware that next time he was likely to know what to expect and also able to enter into the space more quickly and easily.
Where are your places that you have regularly met with God and been refreshed and challenged by Him? I’ve got everyday ones, like a chair at home, Trigg beach and our church building; I’ve got more spasmodic places, like the reading room at the New Norcia guesthouse, a particular hotel in Bunbury and the beach at the SU campsite in Busselton. As embodied people, these places can be useful in our walk with God and in experiencing rest and peace. When was the last time you went to one of the places that help you quickly connect with God?
Rhythms are also important in our life and our Christian walk. Numerous of us are enjoying the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day-by-Day devotions and finding them a rich experience. They lead us into times of silence, reading and reflecting on Scripture and on our lives, and praying. It is another useful tool in our relationship with God. One of the particularly beneficial things of this tool is that many of us are using it and it’s linked with the material we are covering in sermons and in small groups. There’s an added richness and benefit to the community aspect of this tool. It was fantastic in our women’s group on Monday night to be able to share what God had been saying to us through these devotions, with many of the group having used them during the week.
As well, as we connect with God through place and rhythm (UP), and with each other (IN), we find that God often uses these things for those around about us (OUT). Up at New Norcia, I ended up in a deep conversation about life and faith with someone at the pub. And I heard this week about some of our children observing and commenting on the more regular and obvious rhythm of their parents connecting with God as they use the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day-by-Day book. These are just two stories of many where people around us are being naturally impacted as we sink deeply into a three-dimensional life – UP, IN and OUT.