witness is incredible. The skits they put together nothing short of art. It's like a reminder every year that the Holy Spirit shows His beautiful face and form, revealing an intense thread of continuity between every "generation" of candidates. It's proof to me He calls them. It's proof to me I'm not worthy.
We call our retreat "Journey" because I believe discipleship is an adventure, sainthood is the story of Christ-centered valor, there's no greater rush and risk than discovering His love in your heart. For today's post, here's the prayer of blessing I wrote for the leaders to share at the end of the weekend, which summarizes what the s all about:
The Lord who called you in the beginning,
Into the woods,
Into the wild.
He whose love drew you out of isolation
is your best friend
is your guide.
This companion for the journey
The one who pushed you out the door
Invites you now to climb
Summoned against the current,
Out of harbor, off the shore.
Casts you away from safety,
Because that is not what a ship is for.
Into the battle, into discomfort,
Jumping headfirst to the challenge
To revolution, against the grain
Down shadow-filled paths and causeways,
Out of the boat, into the deep.
He promises love beyond imagination
More than all your daydreams ask for
Lift your anchor and open your sails
Wave the white flag to be carried off by mercy
He will never let you drown
So you step forward with feet shaking
Who knew courage felt so raw?
Fear of loneliness
Fear of failure
Fear of never being enough
Fear of death, fear of life
Fear of always feeling stuck.
But as you look all around you
For the enemy to strike
As you stand tall to face the dragon
You’re the only one left to fight.
It’s your ego there to meet you
Reflected in the cave
Isolation, and rejection
Her greatest dreams
His blind ambition
And Christ asks you
For your life.
You want it all, Lord?
What do you mean?
Isn't all I've done for you enough?
Who do you say I am? He responds.
Whom will you serve?
Can you drink the cup I drink?
This is the altar of sacrifice
It is I who must wash your feet.
And so you let Him take a knife
To cut you from your brokenness
To release you from the binds
To unleash your welled up sorrow
To forgive the severed ties
Years of building that castle of sand
One wave of mercy has washed it away
As you run forward to adore Him
Him who loved you at your worst
You feel his voice fill your whole heart
Calling you to give him the good wine first
The transformation is sudden
And yet it’s been happening all along
When you first stepped out your door
When you first pushed off the shore
You opened up your heart to Him and
He has not left you the same
You see as if unblinded
You awaken from the dream
You’re now a stranger to your own self
By this God unseen so changed
The choice is yours now
You have met Him
The Savior, Messiah, Lord
Our God who is encountered
The road opens up before you
But to whom else shall we go?
So you trust that voice within you, the urge to follow, the urge to fight
The adventure is reset now
Once again, you know it’s time
To reflect, pack up and head out
Time to move on, to move forward
To move mountains, to jump the heights
But you know now where you’re headed
To the glory beyond the sunrise
No distracting you from this purpose
To the one you've given all
He is the keeper of your heart
And nothing compares to His Call.
He will take you places you never intended
You will speak to people you never knew
He will heal pain and shun demons in your presence
You will witness nightmares that don't make sense
And try to tell the world the wonder - how you saw with your very eyes -
This is the Shepherd who came after you
Pulled your fleece away from thorns
He is everything
He is the horizon
He is the past, the present,
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you
Wherever He may send you
May he guide you through the wilderness
Protect you through the storm
May He bring you home rejoicing
At the wonders He has shown you
May He bring you home rejoicing once again
Into our doors.