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)