Sabbath Retreat

We just came back yesterday afternoon from a Two-day-one-night “Sabbath Retreat” at Selesa Hillhomes.

It all started some years ago when BLC got “resurrected”. I always wanted to bring a small group of about 10-12 people for a kind of “restful” retreat where we could sleep, play a little, eat, pray and enjoy a taste “monastic” life – i.e. have space to enjoy GOD’s presence (of course our contextualized Malaysian version maybe overdid the eating bit! *grin*). Here’s how this mini-vision got realized:

Last Sunday morning started as usual with May Chin & me getting Gareth ready for BLC’s Worship Gathering. It was harder than usual because he wasn’t feeling well with fever. Both of us hardly slept the night before (especially mummy). What a start … for the Retreat guide … OUCH!

Rev. Wolfgang shared a timely word for us from 1 Corinthians 12 on “The Church – a community of strengths & weaknesses”. After this “Holy Communion” Worship Gathering. 11 of us in three Malaysian made cars transited at McDonalds for lunch. The way we sat in McD almost looked like Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” painting … Tapio (who’s from Finland) just thought the exact same thoughts I did. We’re already moving on the same wavelength … good. The “Properity burger” set was quite good actually and so was the Vanilla coke … thanks to Chin Hor’s recommendation.

a mini “crisis” episode was when the other 2 cars made a different turning and lost their shepherd (me!) who was leading in front (I just drove a little bit faster and they lost me and followed the wrong car – is there a moral in this for church leadership? hehe)

We arrived safely … and with an “orientation” – each released to rest, relax or simply spend some time refocusing with a guide I “pasted” together. Throughout the afternoon, some slept (and I mean they really SLEPT!), some jumped into the pool and we were laughing about the fashion sense of the guy’s swimming trunks – classic or speedo?! (opps!)

The two toddlers were having their own sweet time … Gareth (15months old) recovering from fever and a not-so-happy mood. Jannel (one month younger than Gareth) was wide awake excited about the new surroundings … no nap for her mummy Serene!

We regrouped and shuttled over to the small town opposite the resort for cheaper food … RM95 for 6 dishes is ok. We were happy and got our physical needs settled. Then after a funny ice breaker and two simple songs … we spent some time learning …

1. Centering Prayer (here’s a link I found from Truth Seeker on Centering Prayer)

After about 20minutes of silence & centering (with some mini noises from the toddlers – it was quite an experience for me to guide this with the two young ones – the mummy’s helped out to settle them), we debriefed. Interestingly, one of the most insightful comments was how the kids “kind” of settled down more when we were silent … lots of other interesting feedback as this is new for most of them.

Then we moved on to …

2. Lectio Divina (Divine Reading)
I chose a short passage from 1 Cor 13. After the silence, we shared how we felt the LORD spoke to us personally and the struggles we had during the process. Again, a wonderful time … (check out ACCEPTING THE EMBRACE OF GOD: THE ANCIENT ART of LECTIO DIVINA for another way of looking at it)

Knowing this is more like an introduction of Journaling, silence, centering, & lectio divina for all of them. I included “supper” into the schedule. So, they won’t get too much of a “shock” with “Silence”. We landed up having SATAY with Ken Beng expounding from his vast SATAYING experience what a good Satay is … we finished eating the whole lot anyway!

Horizontal meditation( I mean sleep) afterward (while some chit-chated until later).

Omelletes from our two Iron Chefs … Moh Foong (who did the classic crispier edged version) and Kelvin (wtih a touch of tender loving care). Sausages and eggs and tuna tasted very good during the cool morning … almost wanted to ask Shu Shen to get us into some Aerobics … but the food was too tempting …

We spent the next 2 and half hours alone … practicing what we learnt privately … it rained throughout the temperature and mood was somehow more condusive for this …

We regathered just before lunch and checking out. And I was very blessed by Susan who’s new to BLC sharing how her time with GOD moved her to give a call to someone in need. That touched me because of the movement of God’s Spirit upon her was simply and genuine…

John talked about how he had some kind of rhythm centering & then doing lectio divina and then centering again.

Kelvin asked a very good question on “what happens when the toughts wander or all sorts of things surface?”

There’s more …. that’s just a glimpse of our conversations … I find myself benefiting so much by the “improvisations” that emerged through the last two days.

We closed with intercession so we’ll be readier to return to “the land of mordor” in KL-PJ. And enjoyed a great “last lunch” at a different restraunt. The journey home was safe and I’m just grateful …

Pictures will be coming soon … to celebrate again the “memories” & “moments” from this retreat. Sola Dei Gloria

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