A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Brooke and I spent part of the last week retreating. We got to do some dreaming, praying, and planning for the future of Sacred Ordinary Days in the North Carolina mountains. It was a time of rich conversation and reflection, and the beauty that surrounded us was a reminder of just how many have gone before us.

We were at a Presbyterian retreat center I've heard about from friends for years. I was struck by how the culmination of such vision and stewardship resulted in a magnificent backdrop for work, rest, and fellowship. It was truly a labor of love from generations of people who gave and built and cared for that place on behalf of those who would come after. When we arrived I realized it was very nearby the Baptist Conference Center I grew up attending with my family. :) And, yet, I'd not realized that until this trip. Ha! How easily we can be focused on one thing and oblivious to everything else around us, even grand architecture.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us."
—Hebrews 12:1

Although Brooke and I spent our retreat time differently than we initially imagined, it ended up bringing us both so much peace to be able to do the oh-so-important things that never feel quite urgent enough to make it into a week unless we set the time apart. We felt clarity that we've since been able to offer our team, too. What a gift to us all.

This season can feel strange, can't it? The pomp and splendor of Pentecost feels very far away, and the rest of the world seems to move right on to Christmas as soon as the Halloween candy runs out. The season of Advent is coming (and I'm so ready for it), but it's not here yet. In fact, the weeks between All Saints' Day and Advent form a kind of mini-season—a Pre-Advent, if you will—that focuses on Jesus' return to glory as our king (and I need time to ponder what that even really means every. single. year.).

Alongside you,

P.S. Want to see how I set up my planner? I did a Facebook live today that you can replay here. Or hop on Instagram tomorrow (Friday) at 10am central! Can't wait to say "hi!" and share some of my favorite postures and practices as we look towards beginning a new liturgical year.