For the past week I had the chance to relax, renew, refresh, and reboot my spirit and my body at the West Coast Presbyterian Pastor’s Conference held at the Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center and Camp in Mt. Hermon, CA. It was a great week filled with two fantastic speakers, one covering the Old Testament, and the other talking about Spiritual Renewal. This conference has been held for 45 years, eight days after Easter. Close to 150 pastors and spouses were there, and for me, it was my third year attending. I could write on and on about the conference, but I want to focus today on the location and how that affected me the most.
To rejuvenate means “to restore to a former state, make fresh, or new again.” I purposefully chose that word because too often we forget that when we are constantly burning the candle at both ends, we eventually reach the middle of that candle. The season of Lent for any pastor is a busy time, and while we make sure that our congregations have their needs met, we forget about our own. So there comes a point where we need to stop, and look for ways to rebuild our spirits and our bodies back to where they need to be.
Being outside, among the beautiful redwoods at the camp, breathing the fresh air was the start of that process for me. Spending time listening to the birds and the nature around me lifted me back up and filled me with life again. Actually hearing the wind moving in and around the trees helped to calm my spirit in a way that only can be done as we get back in touch with God’s creation. Many of us have jobs that keep us inside for way too long, and then we get in our cars to go home with the air conditioner and radio on to block out the noise of the road, so we miss these opportunities. We are not really designed to operate that way for long. We need to break away from the rat race and get back into a place of balance.
I love the words found in the following Psalm:
Psalm 19: 1-4a (NRSV)
“1.) The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. 2.) Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. 3.) There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; 4.) yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
Find life again! Go, get out and get away. The beauty and majesty of God’s creation is there to help us remember. It is speaking to us constantly. Remember just who really is in control, who provides, who supplies for all of our needs. God in gracious love for us has granted us places to go and be renewed, rejuvenated, refreshed, and restored. All we have to do is GO!