Last week as part of my end of term activities I took part in a retreat day at the Carmelite Priory at Boars Hill in Oxfordshire. The day was led by Ian Adams, one of the CYM Chaplains, who used the story of Elizabeth, Zechariah and Mary to introduce us to some meditative practices. I arrived early to avoid the traffic and was able to enjoy the sun as it rose over the crisp, frosty fields. I rarely travel without my camera so was able to capture a few shots before everyone else arrived.
The day was divided into three sessions, each providing space for reflection and time to listen for God. During one session I felt inspired to draw (something I never do, and have no talent for) and was moved to reflect on what I’d drawn. A new experience for me, but one which I greatly appreciated and will continue to ponder the notes I made.
We divided into two groups for the final session and were encouraged to use Mary and Zechariah’s example and write either a magnificat or a benedictus based on our context/experiences/feelings. Here’s what we produced in our group:
Thank you God that everything is upside down;
that you don’t see things the way the world sees them.
You accept this generation, though others reject it;
others want to put them down, but you desire to raise them up.
Where the world leaves young people empty, only you can satisfy.
Through your love there is so much more.
As you draw them near to you we see them longing to be valued and eager to serve;
to accept others in the way that you’ve accepted them.
We see your hope rising through this generation.
Thank you for the momentum which flows from and is sustained by your Spirit.
It proved to be a really valuable time of reflection and refreshing – much needed preparation for the two mad weeks which have followed.