I started coming to “A Gathering of Silence” in the spring of 1994 at the Crossroads Camp in Lowesville, Virginia. This “meeting” is sponsored by the Baptist General Association of Virginia for ministers to have a time and place to “get away from it all” and reconnect with God in a way most ministers don’t have or don’t take the time to have.
At the beginning of these times we are silent from sunrise to sunset. We eat three meals in silence each day and gather to decompress the day each evening. During the day, your time is your time. There is no agenda other than what you have planned or not planned. We walk trails, we pray, we read God’s word and we listen. The Appalachian Trail is near, some choose to hike there for their silence. Crabtree Falls is near and some, like myself, feel drawn to hike the paths and see the waterfalls and take photos of God’s beautiful world.
All of these actions are done in silence! Even when two or more decide to do an activity together, we still maintain our “vow” of silence for the day. You’d be amazed at the real communication that happens when one does not have to use words, not to mention what one can hear when one is absent of words!
The photo in this blog today is an “ebenezer” of mine. It was along the first path that I walked some 18 1/2 years ago. That time was a time in my life when I needed some firm reminders of God and his care for me. This ragged old tree stump was what God used to remind me of His presence that day and it still reminds me today. We all need places and objects of reminders that God can and does use to bring us back to Him.
There are several other “ebenezers” from my silent retreats, but this one was the first and it always serves to remind me of God and His ever-present presence.
May God grant you an “ebenezer” in your life today. Mine is a “silent retreat” ebenezer. Yours may be different. I can of think it will be, for we are different. Ask God for His ebenezer for you!
The Path Continues….