Journey to the Cross
March 24 - Maundy Thursday
Bobbie Moody, member of RPC since 1978
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:7
I'm a chatty, busy person. On an extrovert/introvert scale, I'm probably more than 95% extrovert. I make a to-do list every day. So it was a surprise to me and to most people who know me when I decided to attend a silent, contemplative retreat at a monastery in Alabama where, for the first time in my life, I was to shut my mouth for a week. The only talking would be a period each evening when we met to share our thoughts and to pray.
The first morning I gathered my bible, a hymn book, several of the books the retreat leader had made available, and writing materials and headed outside to a spot on a bench next to a pond and tried to decide what to "contemplate" first. I sat there for three days without opening my bible or any of my books or writing anything. I just stared at the water without really consciously thinking. That third night in our period of sharing, I spoke for the first time that week, telling the others that I felt guilty for not reading, writing, or praying, for just sitting and not doing. The leader led me to a book that explained the mind-emptying concept of contemplative thought. I had been mind-emptying?
Actually, I had been making room to accept the peace that Jesus offers us through the Holy Spirit. My life was so crowded with other stuff that I hadn't been able to see what I was missing. All through the rest of that quiet week, I thought about this peace and I prayed in a way I had never prayed before -- I was just the listener.
I wish I could explain the feelings I had as that week progressed and the feelings I carried with me when I returned home. They were feelings of peace and acceptance and the knowledge of the Holy Spirit being with me. I misplace this peace periodically and have to go find it. Sometimes I go to a quiet spot in a park, sometimes an open church, sometimes just a corner of a library, and once to another silent retreat in a monastery here on the banks of the Chattahoochee. Mostly, I have to be alone and quiet, so that I can empty my mind and make room to know that the Holy Spirit is there for me and that peace is available if I make room for it.
Dear God, thank you Holy Spirit for bringing me Christ's gift of peace. Amen