Retreat 2023 Exercises

Blue Heron

permission pending for image by Jackie Morris

How do we as a community of Jesus followers wrap our hearts and minds around what is happening with creation? Forest fires, ocean acidification, species extinction, climate immigration, climate anxiety…the list goes on. It is tempting in the global north to stick our heads in the sand and delete our news feeds. But we are called to take care of the unfortunate, and this surely must include allowing ourselves to feel the pain of what is going on. Maybe this is even one way we can move into a cruciform life, mirroring the suffering love of Christ. While this does lead us to a "world of wounds", we have many resources to help us. Many people of faith and no faith have started to blaze a way towards how to learn to see what is there. And as Debra Rienstra points out in her book Refugia Faith, the Christian tradition, once the scales of lazy interpretation have fallen off, is rich with ways of seeing creation as alive in God and that salvation/redemption includes the more-than-human world just as much. Those who have gone ahead on this path advise with wisdom that the best compass is grief and love. Learning to see what is happening, what is hurting, and learning to be guided by our love of this earth which is part of God's goodness.

So we came up with two exercises to help us articulate our grief and our love:

Creation is Groaning

We want to have a chance to lament and grieve over the losses that we are becoming aware of in the more-than-human creation. During the next 3 weeks, find an aspect of climate change news that particularly calls to you and do a bit of research about it. Each person will have a few minutes to share these laments on Friday evening.

Consider the Lilies

We love what we pay attention to. Find some time at the retreat to be alone somewhere outside and observe what your senses are showing you. Find a symbol of what you are noticing. We will be sharing these symbols on Saturday evening, during the singing.