"Day unto day uttereth speech. The clouds change. The seasons pass over our woods and fields in their slow and regular progression, and time is gone before you are aware of it." Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain.
I've been gone on two retreats this week. The first was a congregational retreat for members of Resurrection up at a Lutheran camp in Upstate New York called Koinonia. The weather was beautiful, and the local was stunning and remote. Too bad it took us almost four hours of winding roads to get there... I felt very ill on the way up and was very glad when we finally arrived. The retreat center was great and the staff was so friendly, and the food was very good! It was also really fun to get to know better some of the members of Resurrection. I got to know two of the families with young kids who are pretty close to our age. And their kids are so cute! Beau lead a Bible study that everyone loved, and on Sunday morning I busted out the ol' guitar and strummed it up. It was pretty fun.
The second retreat was a Book of Faith retreat lead by Bishop Riley on the Gospel of Mark, since that is the gospel of the upcoming church year. This time we were at Princeton Seminary, which is also a beautiful local, though less remote. The seminary has all these old stone buildings that are very lovely. Various pastors from around the synod are supposed to attend one of these retreats, and there was about ten of us from around the synod. It was neat to get to know other pastors not just in our own cluster. We heard the entirety of Mark preformed on video and discussed each chapter. Mark is a really fascinating gospel when heard all at once - well, over the course of 24 hours. We could really hear the immediacy of the action and the mounting frustration of Jesus with his disciples. I though that, especially at the beginning, Mark seemed to be written like someone was following Jesus around and tweeting what was happening. Later, some of the longer stories are like blog posts.
And now we are right on the heels of Thanksgiving. Though we can't make in anywhere to see family, we have already been invited to many gatherings. Traffic is already getting very bad, especially near any shopping areas. I think I'm going to try to avoid driving except for things like grocery shopping and going to church/work for the month of December. We'll see how that goes. :)