At our recent minister’s meeting Eddie O’Connor from the Sister Eveleen Retreat House came to speak to us. He spoke about the importance of taking a time of rest and reflection. He compared retreats to regular dentistry appointments. Just as we require regular health check-ups, so our spiritual health requires regular attention. While we do some of that daily through our prayers and relationship with God, it is good to set some time aside to concentrate on our relationship with God and our own inner health.
The Anglican Diocese of Christchurch is connected with two retreat centres: The Sister Eveleen Retreat House in Sumner and Te Waiora in Hororata. They differ in emphasis, but both offer some time out, whether through specific retreats or just a stay-over. They are both located in beautiful and peaceful locations and aim to provide rest and refreshment. If it is appropriate for you, I encourage you to use those opportunities.
There are also other ways in which we can take some time out from our normal day to day activities and attend to matters of the soul. That may be through relaxation and a break from worries or some more deliberate time away to read and pray. An occasional change of scene is good for us, even if we can only manage a few hours away.
In a world where even in the supermarket we are asked “are you busy today” and where there is an expectation of busy-ness, we sometimes need to slow down and take life at a more tranquil pace. Sometimes that’s forced on us and we don’t like it at all. I hope that we can also welcome that season of life, even though it may not be of our choosing.