Northern Synod Retreat, February 2018
How many of us regularly use the Psalms in our worship and devotional life? If the lack of hands going up at our retreat is anything to by, the answer seems to be “Very few”.
But our two days spent with Carla Grosch Miller, one of our own synod ministers, may well make us think again. She tells of her own way into the Psalms in the introduction to her 2014 book “Psalms Redux” published by Canterbury Press. The weekly psalm provided by the daily prayer book that she was using often caused her to stumble – an experience that others of us have probably shared. Can words from such a distance speak in the same way to us today? Carla’s solution was to rewrite each week’s Psalm – and out of her wrestling with the text emerged “new understandings of the God who gives us life and invites us to flourish”.
Just over a dozen ministers and lay members of our churches shared in the retreat, in which we were encouraged to “Find Voice” ourselves as we reflected on Psalms of Praise, of Pain, and of Promise. We discovered the part disorientation may play in our lives before we can experience reorientation; and some of our number found their own strong expression of the note of lamentation that runs through so many of the Psalms.
And as we encouraged and inspired one another we revelled in the homely atmosphere and comforts of Shepherds Dene, the Anglican retreat house at Riding Mill. In every way, thanks to Carla, and to the space we were allowed, and to everyone who contributed to the two days, it proved an excellent beginning to Lent.
Next year the retreat will be at Ampleforth, February 19-21 2019 (NB revised dates). We will be back at Shepherds Dene the following year, March 10-12 2020.