It’s not often you hear life altering wisdom from a teenager, better yet a fictional one. Yet it was the 1980’s icon Ferris Bueller who first introduced me to the practice of reflection. As Ferris prepared for what would be an epic day off school, he said, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.
There is something about this that resonates with people. We recognize our need to slow down, to stop and look around, to savor the moment. Our realities crash against this as we deal with responsibilities and demands each day. I have found the times where I do stop and look around I am left wanting to find ways to do this regularly.
Early in 2016 I was presented with an opportunity to join a spiritual community that would commit to nine retreats over the next two years. These three-day retreats were designed to give me the opportunity to step out of the urgent, and focus on my own relationship with Jesus Christ. The retreats would challenge me to stop and look around in my own spiritual life.
Initially I resisted the pull I felt toward this experience, but eventually relented. My hesitation was a result of my need for control. I wondered what were they going to have us do on these retreats? It all sounds so weird. I know how to spend time with God, so what are they possibly going to teach me? I struggle with the unknown, but I have learned a truth that combats that challenge: when God is surprising you, it means you are giving up control. God was giving me a surprising opportunity, so by faith I went forward.
These retreats are led by Ruth Haley Barton, who will be at Eagle the weekend of June 10-11. Ruth has authored many books, and has led more than a dozen of the communities such as the one in which I am invested. Ruth is not your typical convention speaker. She isn’t going to dazzle you with some incredible illustration, or entertain you with jokes. Ruth is a teacher, who God uses to speak to the deepest parts of who we are.
In her book Sacred Rhythms, Ruth writes, there are moments in our lives when we cry out inwardly, “I don’t care what anyone else says; there has to be more to the Christian life than this!”
Hear this: There is more, and the starting point to fuel this deeper longing is learning to heed God’s invitation to be still and know that I am God.
There are dozens of reasons for you to miss the Sacred Rhythm’s retreat on June 10. I would imagine the pace of your life is much like mine. However, what if a few hours on a Saturday could radically alter your walk with Jesus?
It is my prayer that many would seize this opportunity. Life moves fast. Hear God’s invitation to slow down, so you don’t miss it.