I love retreats. I’ve been attending them since I was in Junior High. Retreats are where I “caught” my faith. Have you ever traveled to a new place? Whether it was spectacular or ordinary doesn’t matter. I’ll bet you were more aware of your surroundings; what you saw, smelled, felt. We get complacent in our spaces, our routines. Yes, we love our homes and our church, but every now and then it’s healthy to step out of these familiar places and wake up our senses by being in new surroundings.
Sometimes church feels 2-dimensional to me, but retreats offer a kind of 3-D experience, with a chance for worship to be more active and interactive. Worship in our pews is sacred and important, but sometimes worshipping in other dimensions wakes up our spirits and our faith grows and we respond with more of ourselves. Retreats offer the opportunity for quiet reflective time, as well as time for fellowship and laughter, as we explore and share our faith with others. The very definition of retreat is, “a time and place set apart”, “a safe haven.” Retreats offer the gift of not being hurried, but to really be present.
I’ve belonged to Raleigh Court for 20 years, but at the recent Massanetta retreat, I met new people who I didn’t know before and I love that I can greet them by name now on Sunday mornings, smiling when I remember our shared meals, small groups, campfire songs, and worship together. Just as families are made strong by shared experiences, we’re stronger as a faith family when we have shared experiences that strengthen our connection to one another and to our Creator.
For those who think they don’t have the time to attend a retreat, I’d argue that the way you’ll feel fed by this experience will exponentially reward the time you commit to attend. The Massanetta Shalom retreat fed my faith and I look forward to sharing next year’s with you.