Closing message to Retreat participants by Event Coordinator, Carol Jordan. This year's theme was "Behold." As used in the Bible, the word "behold" is used in various ways, as a command, an invitation, or perhaps a call to a different style of attention; a need to "switch gears."
Richard Rohr suggests that someone who is "beholding" is, first of all, silenced with the utter gratuity of a thing, a tree, a bird, even an insect. To behold is to allow and to taste. At the moment you stop trying to "hold" and instead allow yourself to "be held" by the other, you can become enchanted by something outside and beyond yourself. I hope this brief respite from your daily life has given you space, both to behold and to be held by the beauty of God's world in this lovely setting.
What blessings from this retreat will you take home with you? Each of us has been nourished in our own unique way.
Remember when you were held gently in the silence of meditation or prayer? Nourishment comes to us unbidden if we only pay attention. Thomas Merton wrote: "May we all grow in grace and peace, and not neglect the silence that is printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us." Behold! you are cherished by God in times of silence.
Maybe, for you, the rushing water of the river, the chatter of birds, or a gentle breeze fed your soul. What a gift! Behold, you live in an incredible and wondrous natural world available to you every single day.
Nourishment may have come to you in our times of togetherness, in both sharing and deep listening, in laughter, in learning, or, in song. In Matthew, Jesus said, "For where 2 or 3 are gathered in my midst, there am I in the midst of them." We are each stronger in a close community where we are held in both our joys and our trials. Behold, you are loved by these Christian sisters.
You embraced your creative spirit with writing, zentangling, beading, and building your own altar. Take a deep breath and Behold! You can find the time to relax and let go!
I pray that you were blessed in more than one way during our retreat. In a moment of stress or hurriedness in the coming days and weeks, recall "Behold!" If you pay attention, you will be reminded that nourishment to your soul comes during moments of deep silence, from the natural world, in your Christian community, and by accessing your God-given creative spirit. Thus, we will continue to grow in grace and peace.
Closing Circle - COGS Women's Retreat at Pecos (9/8/2019)