Monday, October 13, 2008

Western PA Conference Clergy retreat

Tomorrow, I'll be heading out of town for a few days in order to participate in a retreat with our Conference clergy, entitled "The Great Escape". The retreat will be held at Antiochian Village Retreat Center in Bolivar, PA, about 30 minutes or so from where I grew up. Former Alban Instititute consultant Gil Rendle will lead us, and the Conference is also bringing in a comedian for entertainment. I'm not sure what the retreat theme will be, but it's good to get away and de-stress with sisters and brothers in Christ.

I'm especially looking forward to three things:

1) There is nothing like the beauty of western Pennsylvania in autumn, and I am quite familiar with the breathtaking scenery of the Laurel Ridge this time of year. The greatness of God's work in creation will be sure to inspire.

2) While I am looking forward to seeing so many of my pastoral colleagues, I am particularly pleased that all the members of my covenant group will be at the retreat together, and we're using the time to catch up, pray, and hold our monthly accountability meeting. Good folks all. Always good to spend time with them.

3) I love worship, and there are several worship opportunities during the week. Included in the schedule is participation in an Eastern Orthodox worship gathering, and I'm giddy just thinking about it! Eastern Orthodox worship is the antithesis of contemporary, consumer-driven "worship lite" compromises, with great Scriptural, historical, and sacramental depth, and I'm certain that our Blessed Triune God will be praised in meaningful, powerful ways!

"The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim;
let the earth quake!
The LORD is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!
The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
Exalt the LORD our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the LORD, and he answered them.
In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies and the statute that he gave them.
O LORD our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
Exalt the LORD our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy!"

- Psalm 99 (ESV)

1 comment:

J. R. Miller said...

I miss autumn in Western PA...

My Grandma was Russian Orthodox and for a year or so I went to church with her in my teen years (after I moved away from J-town and left you Keith and many friends behind) I love the richness of imagery and worship in the Orthodox tradition. Weddings and Funerals are the most powerful!

Have a restful time brother!