I returned home last night from a Christian Mysticism Churches. That in itself is not all that unusual. Pastors return home from church all the time and I myself have done it on an average of twice a week for the past thirty years. What was different about this returning was that I was actually feeling good. More than that, I was feeling thankful. That is probably because it had not been an ordinary meeting, actually it had been a church retreat.
Eighty people had attended, all members and friends of the church. Days at the retreat were spent hiking and doing other activities such as enjoying the beauty of incredible mountain scenery. Evenings were spent in times of worship, sharing our stories, listening receptively to each other, and experiencing the love and presence of God in community.
Storytelling and story listening had served as unofficial themes for the retreat. In small groups, we worked on a particular kind of listening skill, prompted just to listen as the speaker shared. All of us then just received their story with a simple “thank you.”
With that experience in mind, I turned my attention to an article I was writing. The topic, of all things, was about apocalyptic theology. You know, the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world. All sorts of thoughts came stampeding through my mind, in fact through my whole nervous system. People have some very strong feelings on this topic. Then, one of those thoughts jumped from the herd and settled into a very tender place in my mind.
I felt more relaxed and knew just what I would say. Thinking back to that wonderful church retreat time, I hope that, as you are reading this article, you will hear it as part of my story in conjunction with my own faith journey. When you finish, I hope you will receive what I’m sharing without judgment or affirmation-just as my story. It will not even be necessary to feel thankful, but I hope you will seek to see and find yourself in some part of what I say.