Retreat, Ascend


Near the Zen garden at Bons Secour Center. photo by Pastor Michael Bledsoe.

Near the Zen garden at Bons Secour Center. photo by Pastor Michael Bledsoe.

Last Saturday we had a one-day church retreat at a beautiful center in Maryland called Bons Secour.  Since seminary days, I have been blessed to have found my way into the streams of contemplative Christianity provided by our Catholic brothers and sisters.  And Bons Secour did not disappoint–they have created a treasure of a contemplative space.

Our facilitator, Rev. Paul Clark, was also fantastic.  He is measured, wise, and insightful.  Paul designed the interactive part of our retreat and drew us into thoughtful process about our transitions in life, particularly our transition in this interim journey as a church.  Of course, as he said to me, he was blessed to work with such loving Christians.

On my own, during my individual contemplation, I discovered several places of solitude and beauty that registered cadences and notes of peace and quiet. The picture of the stone steps was at the bottom of a circle of a Zen garden out in the woods.  Its message to me is clear anyway:  in order to ascend, we need to retreat at times.  Finding a way to do that annually or every season is important but here is the lesson from Catholic contemplation:  the hours of the day offer us moments to retreat; the phases of the day from dawn to noon to dusk, provide us an opportunity to step aside and center, breathing deep and through prayerful mindfulness, achieve a peace and calm that empowers us forward into our life and the world around us.  Retreat, ascend.  ~See you Sunday