Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
Come Rest in Me
Educators' Retreat 2016
3-5 June 2016
Jointly organised by the Institute for Christian Ministry (ICM), Methodist TRAC and Christian Teacher Fellowship (TCF)
This is a Guided Retreat. Certain portion of the retreat will require you to be ‘silent’. What this means is that you do not talk to your friends (including spouses) during this period (colored blue in your retreat schedule) especially during meals time. You are in solitude and bring your solitude along with you wherever you go. Do not worry. You will be allowed time to talk. Please restrict your reading to the Bible and this retreat note.
What to bring
Retreat Director: Dr Alex Tang
Websites: www.kairos2.com; www.draltang.org
Indicate ‘silent part’ of retreat
meditate and pray*
a word about retreats…
A military retreat is often considered as losing ground as the soldiers are involved in moving back or withdrawal. However, not everyone sees it as that. General Oliver Prince Smith during the Korean War declared, "Retreat, hell! We're not retreating, we're just advancing in a different direction”! A spiritual retreat is not losing ground. It is taking a step sideways to reflect upon and to consolidate the advances of our spiritual life.
Our lives are very busy. We are swept away by its non-stop demands. The insistent attention-grabbing noise of the mobile phones, television and social media drowns out the voice of God. Our bodies are stressed resulting in hypertension, heart attacks and strokes. Our souls are fragmented and disjointed. Our lives feel disconnected and surreal. We feel as if we are drowning in a strong flowing river, being swept away with no control over our lives. All we can do is to try to keep our heads above the water. And when we do have a moment to take stock, we wonder where the months and years have gone.
It is essential for those who are serious about their spiritual life to take time out for retreats. As mentioned, retreats are when we intentionally step aside to reflect about our life in Christ and to listen to Him who is speaking into our lives. Retreats are opportunities for us to
Retreats are of many different forms. There are the formal guided retreat (usually under a spiritual director), informal group retreat, and personal retreat. Personal retreat may be conducted by a person on his/her own. Frequency of taking a retreat depends on individuals. The length of a retreat may varies. It may be a 3 days retreat, a one week, one month or three months. In silent retreat, speaking is kept to the minimum. There are no fixed place for a retreat. We may have a retreat at a retreat center (which is ideal because they provide accommodation and food), a hotel/resort, a caravan or a tent. Or even in a home. Example of a personal retreat in 2011 < http://www.kairos2.com/retreatAug2011.htm >
The focus of a retreat is not in how it is structured but in spending time with ourselves and with the Lord. The keyword is listen.
In a retreat, we step aside to listen to the whisper of a small still voice, to reevaluate our lives, pray and to obey. That is why it is essential for us to make time for retreats. This is especially if our lives are very busy. Allocating time for retreat should be part of our planning and ministry. I recommend that we plan for at least two retreats a year. We must realize that we serve out of our being. There is always the danger that we run on empty. We may get away by serving when we are spiritually empty but it will be a matter of time before we crash and burn. We must realize that when we fall, not only we will be hurt, more importantly many others who depend on us and look up to us will be hurt too. So take time out to step aside in our busy life and listen.
Reflection #1: Invitation to Come and Rest
My soul in silence waits
Bitter night for the morning light my soul in silence waits,
creeping cold darkness embracing are my soul’s contends,
endless corridors wandering lost escape seeks through gates,
fear of death and loss, regrets and pain, my soul’s portends.
Hiding from the scary world outside where evil seem to reign,
snatch thief pull and kill for bag and some dollars and cents,
corruption, bribery, loss of rule of law the country’s bane,
shooting children, random acts of violence makes no sense.
God’s apparent absence concerned my soul seeking verity,
random unfortunate events happening leave lives in shambles,
seeking reasons why bad things happen to good people clarity,
day by day, year by year, the Beast slowly to Jerusalem ambles.
In the depths of my innermost self lies my soul its longing,
to where distraction distract no more nor satisfaction,
to peace and contentment with the One my soul belonging,
Spirit peels aside the filthy scabs, real self extraction.
Death no sting, suffering no pain, end of hostilites,
introvert in extrovert realm not desperate straits,
always the faith never the fear, endless possibilities,
be still my heart and mind, my soul silently waits.
Reflection #2: Rest in Seeing
Reflection #3: Rest in Waiting
Waiting for the Light: Mastery Inactivity
Advent 2015 reflection
In clinical medicine, there is a very powerful treatment called mastery inactivity. An experienced clinician knows that there are times in the management of a patient with a serious medical condition that the best treatment is not to do anything but allow time for nature to take its course. This is the hardest treatment to prescribe because it involves the physician not doing anything. The default mode is to do something. Order some form of treatment. Perform some form of surgery. Our hearts are restless and we associate activity with progress. Not to act is a sign that we are negligent or indifferent.
This is also what happens when we are hit with some catastrophes in our lives. In such situation, we are full of an urgency to act. An urgency to do something to get us out of the situation. Anything at all, even though the action may not be beneficial or at times may cause harm. An alternative option is to sit idly by and ride out the storm. Judy Brown creates a scenario in which we are caught in a stormy sea and where inaction may be more beneficial than reactive action.
There is a trough in waves,
A low spot
Where horizon disappears
And only sky
Are our company.
And there we lose our way
We rest, knowing the wave will bring us
To its crest again.
There we may drown
If we let fear
Hold us within its grip and shake us
Side to side,
And leave us flailing, torn, disoriented.
But if we rest there
In the trough,
The low part of the wave,
Our energy and
Noticing the shape of things,
Then time alone
Will bring us to another
Where we can see
Horizon, see the land again,
Regain our sense
And where we need to swim.
The Sea Accepts All Rivers, Judy Brown
This is what I called mastery inactivity. It takes knowledge and wisdom to discern when to act and when not to act. It requires mastery over our emotions as the default mode is to do something. It also requires faith. The sailor in the storm has faith based on her knowledge of the waves. We need to have faith that our catastrophes will blow over, that we need to remain calm in the eye of the storm. And we need to have faith in Him who is able to calm the storm and walk on water.
There are an ebb and flow in the rhythm of our lives; a time to act and a time to cease from action; a time to do and a time to rest; and a time to stress and a time to distress. That is the only way to ride a storm. This is what Advent is all about. It is a time of inaction, rest and reflection. It is a flashback to more than two thousand years ago when the whole of creation kept still and held its collective breath, and waited for the Light. We live in a broken world, at the bottom of the cesspool, in the trough of pain and suffering. Let us wait together. Wait for a glimpse of the sky. Wait for the Light and then lean into it.
Soli Deo Gloria
Reflection #4: Rest in Giving
Reflection #5: Rest In Me
List at least five items/things you have learned from this retreat
List at least five steps/actions you plan to take regarding the items/things you have listed above
"treat, heal, and comfort always"
"spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"
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