Part 2 of our retreat…following The Call to Action.
Based on the pamphlet provided by the Richmond Hill Community, “The Jerusalem Mile was the name given to some labyrinths used for mediation and built in the Middle Ages. The concept was the pilgrims who could not make the journey to Jerusalem during their lifetime could pray and reach Jerusalem in the spirit by walking this labyrinthine path.”
“Richmond Hill’s installation of a copy of the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, itself a center for pilgrimages, is called the Jerusalem Mile in honor of this tradition. This example of the widest accepted prayer labyrinth in the Church has eleven circuits, which are spread through four quadrants, and is symbolic of Christ’s cross. Grace is symbolized by the never-ending path to the center and back, allowing the pilgrim to walk the path at his or her own pace and to stop for prayer and meditation as needed.”
While walking The Jerusalem Mile on our retreat, I heard from the Lord…confirming a message that I had received from a friend following the Maundy Thursday service the night before. She had told me to “enjoy the journey”. The Lord confirmed that the next day…while walking the path. I found myself weaving my way through the labyrinth…not knowing where exactly I was heading, when or how I was going to get there. The path twisted and turned.
I found myself singing an old school hymn as I walked, meditated and prayed.Thank you, Lord for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord for making me whole. Thank you, Lord for giving to me…. Thy great salvation so rich and free!
It was like the Lord guided me…telling me when to turn and which way to turn. He spoke to me that day that He will guide us in our decisions…telling us when to go and when to stop, when to turn right and when to go left. Until…we reach the center…the sweet spot…the destination…the center of God’s Will.
So…add this to the theme of The Call to Action I wrote about yesterday…and I was asking myself…what do you get?…what does this all mean?
I am thankful for a clarifying conversation we had with Ben Campbell, from Richmond Hill. Action doesn’t necessarily mean that we will know what the center holds….or when we will arrive there…or how we will get there. But, action DOES mean, to move…even if it is one small step at a time….in faith at the urging and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So, Louis and I didn’t get answers to all the questions we came with. But, this was the only answer we truly needed at this time. Following our morning together and our time with Ben at lunch, we spent a little time in silence, read a chapter of Crazy Love – Profile of the Obsessed – which again confirmed all that we had heard from the Lord. We then made a list of specific questions we need answers to. Answers that will come in time as we pray and spend time with Him on future retreats.
- Since Louis went part-time last week, should he get another job immediately? Or does God have other plans for him?
- When should Louis act on a message that the Lord gave him years ago? Is it now?
- Our Missional Community…what should we be doing now? What should we be studying and how should we be serving?
- Since my job comes to an end sometime this year, what is next for me? What, if anything specific, should I be doing to prepare?
- Is there a local church in SBH that we could serve with? What are our roles in facilitating cooperation between the local churches to serve SBH?
- As we prepare to attend Exponential Conference in 2 weeks, what does He want us to hear? Who does he want us to meet? Why are we going to be there?
- While we vacation following the conference, is there anything we should specifically plan for? How should we specifically seek God during this down time?
- What is our next step as a couple? as individuals?
- What should our daily Bible reading and study be focused on as a couple and individually?
- Who should we intentionally seek to be in relationship with?
- How should we be spending our time? What should we Start, Stop, Continue?
- How often should we intentionally retreat? When is our next one? (By the way, we scheduled it for May 3rd.)
Enjoying the journey
call to ACTION
in our wonderful City…
There seems to be a theme. This is a summary of what the Lord has been speaking to me at the end of Lent…
Thursday night…Maundy Thursday…Joe Torrence from Embrace Richmond spoke at Commonwealth Chapel on the scriptures around Luke 22 specifically ~ Do this in Remembrance of Me.” What are we suppose to remember? Remembering requires ACTION! Then, He washes their nasty, gnarly, yucky, dirty, stinky feet! Even to the point of washing the feet of the guy who He knows is going to betray him. He models for us what to do…and how to serve. So the question is…WHO are you going to serve and how? John 5 speaks directly to this…v.20 – For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. So, we are to do what Jesus has done…which is what the Father has done….think about the adulterous woman, the lepers, the Samaritan woman, the prostitutes, the thieves, etc.
So, how do we respond to that? In John 13:34-35 Jesus states that our new mandate/commandment to love one another as HE has loved us. So that all will know we are HIS disciples.
A Call to ACTION…Love
So…I’m thinking…who do I love on and why? What is my motive? What am I remembering? Do people know that I am HIS disciple?
Louis and I started our retreat day Friday…rushing around trying to be “on-time” for our retreat. Although we decided that we’d aim to be at Richmond Hill @ 9am, it didn’t take long for us to chill. It wasn’t an appointment we were late for…it was a Sabbath Day….a getaway. So, we slowed down and took our time. The Lord obviously was still going to be there if we were an hour later than what we had planned, right?
At the corner of Broad and 18th there is a Mickey D’s where we stopped for a breakfast sandwich. You wonder WHY things happen like they do. Why we run late….and why the line was long. And why Louis just ran inside instead of waiting in the drive-thru line. On his way out, a 54 year old veteran man (who looked about 70) asked Louis for some money to get something to eat. Most of us are like…yeah right…..and look the other way and ignore the person. Roll the window up. Pretend like we don’t see or hear him. Whatever. But, on this day….this Good Friday…we took the time. Louis explained that we don’t give money out, but we’d be happy to buy him something to eat. Louis and Jerry Lewis (or wonder if it was Louis?) Martin (yes…that is his real name) were able to chat a few minutes.
So, our day started with me thinking about…Matthew 25:31-46…the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats…specifically when Jesus says…
35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
A Call to ACTION…provide food and drink, invite the strangers in, clothe the naked, look after the sick, and visit the prisoners.
THIRD > (but not the last, I am sure!)
Then, we found ourselves sitting in the Garden of Richmond Hill.
We started our day with reading Jude. Specifically, vs. 17-23 – A Call to Persevere.
17But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Call to ACTION…Persevere
Jude also refers to Enoch in v. 14. There’s not a lot in the Bible on Enoch, but I sure do like the sound of him. Genesis 5 reviews the long lineage of Enoch. The only other scripture I can find other than is lineage is in what is known as the Hall of Faith – Hebrews 11.
5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Now imagine that…the only thing you were known for…the only thing that truly ever mattered was “he was commended as one who pleased God.” It really puts it all in perspective.
Call to ACTION…Please God.
It begs answers to the following questions…
Can this be said of me? What in my life is pleasing to God? What am I willing to do to please God? Am I ready to go ALL out? Am I ready to accept the Call to Action?
These are the feet of Jesus…belonging to a pastor and his wife…willing to serve…willing (and WANTING) to please God.
What a blessed day!!! It was a BEAUTIFUL day at Richmond Hill. We really could not have asked for a better…a more wonderful day…following our moving foot washing Maundy Thursday service last night at Commonwealth Chapel. Now, we look forward and prepare for the 8pm Good Friday Service at Commonwealth Chapel. We are attending with some of Louis’ church members from the Petersburg area. So, here is just a quick sneak peek of our day at Richmond Hill. Enjoy! More to come!!! Thank you God for Richmond Hill! Thank you for my wonderful, loving and God-fearing hubby. Thank you for the CROSS!
I’m excited to share an event I was just made aware of…
Urban Ministry Forum
“Theology on the Ground”
Wednesday, April 7th from 7-9pm
Union Theological Seminary
You will hear from urban ministers, whose work in Baltimore, DC, and Richmond are truly rooted in building community, empowering the marginalized, and helping people at their point of need.
- Rev. Dr. Anthony Hunt will be discussing how he’s been creating ‘shalom’ zones in some very poor parts of Baltimore;
- Rev. Dr. Roger Gench will be discussing what it’s like to be an urban parish minister and how collective action among churches can accomplish change; and
- Richmond Hill’s Rev. Ben Campbell will describe how spirituality and prayer create ecumenical bonds which then forms concrete social action to help transform this great city.
Union understands that effective ministry means opening one’s doors, offering radical hospitality, and creating relationships to develop the ‘beloved community.’