Retreat Notes, St. Simons Island, Georgia

Retreat Notes, St. Simons Island, Georgia

What a gift it was to share with the women First Baptist Church of Christ Macon. When I lead retreats and events, I like to share links and content here.

Our theme was Hilaritas, Voices on the Journey.

hilaritas

Session 1.
Exodus 15:11-21 invited us to think about Voices We Know By Heart

We laughed with Adele in Carpool Karioke, wondering how songs can take us back to moments that have formed us.

The Secret Language of the Heart is a book that tells more about neuroplasticity.

mental maleability

Brene Brown reminded us that “what we are learning moves from our head to our heart – through our hands and feet.” Of course, we would add – through our voice and our song.

Session 2.
Matthew 15:22 invited us to think about Voices We Need to Hear.

We confessed there are voices that we do not hear in the Church. I shared about the feeling of throat-ripping fury I had as a new mom. That feeling has always stayed with me as the first true realization I had of what it feels like to love that deeply, in a way that would move me to disruption. “It makes absolute sense to me when I see women who love their people crying out for their people. What in all the power of this world would stop me for the people I love? It wouldn’t be some convention of who is allowed what scraps at what table. No matter how many scholars have fallen all over themselves trying to re-story this so that Jesus is not really calling her a little dog, she is there at his feet saying ‘This little dog don’t care.’She gets right in the middle of the customs of the day that Jesus names and says, I’ll tell you what I’ll do with your customs and traditions . . . I will sit myself right in the middle of them, look them in the face, and grab at WHAT I CAN REACH because that is what desperation calls for. No religious custom comes close to stopping me from loving the people I love, so say what you must say. Your labels matter so little to me in the reality I am in that I will wear your label, sit with it and eat the crumbs that come from it. That is why I am here. That is why my voice is loud.” We talked about how we need to listen for the women who love and are crying out, because their voices will lead us towards justice.

mothers cry out

A few voices we heard are these:

– Danielle Slaughter, Raising An Advocate
– Chris and Rachel Davis, challenging us to, “Love people who don’t look like you until what affects them affects you. Then stand with them, whatever the cost.”
– Mothers and The Talk

We got a temporary tattoo, letting our very skin be interrupted by the symbol of beloved community and wholeness for all people.

Session 3.
Amplify. Ruth 2 invited us to think about Voices We Must Amplify.

We reflected on the women we must listen for and amplify in our congregation and our community. This book by Joan Chittister is a fine resource.

Session 4.
We finally ended with recognizing our own voice as an offering. We recognized the gifts in our circle. We received communion and heard this blessing as a final benediction, from Sarah Bessey:

“I set you apart in your right-now life for the daily work of liberation and love. Proclaim the Kingdom of God with your hands and your feet and your voice to every soul in your care and influence. May your soul long for prayer and for the Scriptures, may you keep secrets, may you give away your money, may you share your meals, and may you sit alone in silence under the sky and be satisfied. May you change bedding in the middle of the night without anger after yet another childish accident, may you hold babies and comfort the dying and be the voice of knowledge tempered with grace and wisdom, and may you never forget how to sing and be silly. May you make room in your life to be inconvenienced and put out, and may you be Jesus with skin on for a few people. May you be fearless, and may you eat good food.”

Contact me for any questions, to share pictures, or for preaching and leading events.

Music:
Hear My Song by Jason Robert Brown
Storyteller by Morgan Harper Nichols
Prayer for Grace by Morgan Harper Nichols
The Story by Brandi Carlyle
We Shall Not Be Moved by Mavis Staples

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