Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Silent Retreat in 2007

Facilitated a group of more than 30 persons on a one-and-a half-day silent retreat at a retreat centre in Singapore recently. The majority are seminary students at their final year with 3 faculty members.

I have a wonderful time with them. The theme was "Walking the Spiritual Paths to Perceiving, Listening, and Be-ing." I want to welcome them to the contemplative side of the Christian life. The retreat was to introduce them to a silent retreat ,centering prayer, imaginative prayer, lectio divina, silence and solitude,the Jesus Prayer, and spiritual direction.

Most of the students and staff have problem coping with a silent retreat as it is a new experience for many of them. Our protestant form of retreats or camps are normally noisy affairs with two or three plenary sessions and the rest of the time devoted to fun, sun, games and fellowship. So, it is understandable that the silent type of retreat came as a shock to many.

Keeping silent and not engaging in conversation is difficult for all. This is especially so when they are with friends whom they know well. Keeping silent, no handphones, SMS, internet access and iPod is not natural. No games but period after period of time given to quietness, reflection, and solitude must be unnerving to many.

Coming from a theological seminary where they have been for the last two to three years, it must have been difficult for them to switch from a cognitive centered worship form to a contemplative worship form. However they are willing to try and I am glad soon many are able to pray with their imagination and with lectio divina.

It was a time of reflection and review for them as many are graduating and are considering the next phase of their ministry. I feel so privileged to spend time with these dedicated men and women who have sacrificed so much in His service.

It is my sincerest prayer that despite the inadequacy of the retreat facilitator, they all have encounters with the living God during this retreat that will be meaningful and memorable to them as they embark of the next phase of their ministries.

Soli Deo Gloria

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

haven't been on a retreat for quite a while, although once i recall attending a 'spiritual retreat' where meditation was encouraged.

isn't silence a spiritual discipline?

5:27 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi alwyn,

yes, silence is one of the many spiritual disciplines.

3:44 PM  

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