Thursday, November 2, 2006

Staff Development Day

I always dread these days.
For three reasons:
1. It puts me one day behind on all my regular tasks.
2. It disrupts my carpool arrangements, so I have to involve an assortment of folks to give me a hand.
3. Because I work for a Christian organization, a portion of the day is set aside for us to spend in prayer and meditation. And sharing. And more praying. Quietly and out loud. Oy.

In the end, when all is said and done, it never turns out as bad as I anticipate it will. But it IS emotionally draining. All that crying. Well, only a few of us were crying. Me, because that seems to be what I do lately. And two others, because they were sitting beside me and crying is contagious.

Our first "assignment" this morning was to engage in a process called, "The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina".
We were given a three page description of the procedure, but the short version is:

1. Get comfortable and quiet yourself before the Lord.

2. Read the passage of scripture silently and slowly, attentively listening for the phrase or word that God has for you this day.

3. Meditate on the passage by reading it over and over and over and allowing it to interact with your thoughts, hopes, memories and desires.

4. Pray the Word and offer any difficult/pain-filled experiences by repeating the healing words God has given you from the passage.

5. Contemplate this time with God in silence and rest in His embrace.

The passage were were to look at was Isaiah 40: 21 - 31

It's a familiar passage to me and the latter part of the passage is underlined in my Bible. But when I was forced and manipulated and ordered to read it over and over again - a different set of verses from that passage penetrated my hardened heart and made me smile:

"Who created all the stars? He brings them out one after another, calling each by its name. And he counts them to see that none are lost or have strayed away."

I LOVE that.

"he counts them"...
I can image that. When I take 12 kids to Creation or 8 kids to the fireworks, I count the kids in my care continually. "1,2,3,4,...5,...6...7,8,9....10,...11....where is he?...12."
When I count, I do so with love. And a smile. And pride. And joy. And wonderment - thrilled that I am allowed to have these kids share an experience with me...

God probably smiles too. And is filled with love as he counts. And that is cool.

And the other thing I "got" from this passage was the last part of that verse, "And he counts them to see that none are lost or have strayed away."

I have this burden lately for kids who are rebelling and straying away from their parents and their faith. I've got a list of friends who've asked me to pray for their lost children. I do so gladly and ernestly.
"He counts them to see that none are lost or have strayed away..." I was reminded this morning that He (God) is counting them too. He is concerned about those who are lost. He loves them.

And lastly, quite unexpectedly. during the last minute of forced devotional time, I re-read this verse: "He gives power to those who are tired and worn out, He offers strength to the weak."

I've always identified with those who are tired and worn out. And often ask for his power to give me the oomph to carry on. But this morning, the last part of that verse "He offers strength to the weak" seemed to shout at me.
I've never thought of my dad as weak. And he is not weak. But the doctors say his heart is. He will be meeting with a specialist tomorrow about his condition: a weak heart. Weak. He offers strength to the weak.

Seems like an answer to prayer...

Anyway, that's how my day started.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Vern is coming! We're having supper with Sherry! A true girls' weekend...
2. If you give God even just 10 minutes, He'll find a way to talk to you. Despite bad attitudes and closed minds.
3. Kids don't care that I'm leaving them a less than clean house. Whoo hoo. 48 hours of visiting. And sleeping. And chick flicks. And eating meals that do not contain Kraft dinner or hot dogs. And talking. Maybe walking. Maybe taking pictures.

Back atcha on Sunday night...


PS. We held our "retreat" at the Mark Centre in Abbotsford. I SO recommend it as a great place to rent for a period of rest and reflection.

1 comment:

Christine Lindsay said...

I will try this.