I wrote last week about our upcoming retreat. The 12 of us had an amazing week-end, learning from each other about what it means to be who we are in Christ. I’ll be honest, I went in with some fear and trepidation, but what can go wrong when you have a group of people like this? Over the course of the weekend I realized anew why I think this series of Spiritual Formation Retreats are so important. Let me tell you

As I grew up in the church a verse that was often used to motivate us toward leadership was a reference to the men who followed David when he was on the run from Saul. It was specifically about a certain family, those from the tribe of Issachar.

...Sons of Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do...
— I Chronicles 12:32

I loved these sons of Issachar guys, because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to make the world a better place. These are complicated times we live in. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be the one who can read the culture around us, know what we should do, and take action. Verses like this inspired me to seek to make a difference in the world I live in for the Kingdom of God.

So what does that have to do with these week-end retreats? I have grown to realize that while changing the world is a noble (and needed) task, far too often we only force on the world the unsettled nature of our own compulsions. One of the quotes I shared at the retreat this week-end speaks directly to this…

He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity for love will not have anything to give to others. He will communicate nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centred ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.
— Thomas Merton

If we follow in the steps of the sons of Issachar, but neglect to pay attention to who we actually are ourselves, we run the risk of communicating “nothing but the contagion of our own obsessions, our aggressiveness, our ego-centred ambitions, our delusions about ends and means, and our doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.” In short, we inflict our own dysfunctions upon the world.

So yes, we want to change the world, we want to make a difference. But that starts with opening ourselves up to the ways God wants to change us. In the words of that great theologian, Michael Jackson…

I’m staring with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways...

That’s why I think these retreats are so important. They bring together 12 people who agree to make space for God to change us, trusting that when we are different, the way we live with be different. When we live differently, slowly and steadily, one by one, then the world is changed.

Not a bad way to spend a week-end.

Want to know what we covered? Check out our Adult SS Class each Sunday in October at 9:45am. To sign up for one of the other retreats or to ask for more information contact the church office (info@ or (604) 869-5524) or click here.

Jeff KuhnComment