On a weekend retreat in early November, we were graced with unusually warm weather allowing us to sit comfortably outside into the evening. The mellow air brought out a bat, who swooped and darted in front of the Lodge porch at dusk, and several of us quietly watched. In moments like this, one sometimes feels, “It is enough.” Enough in the fullest, most profound sense: we are surrounded by beauty, embraced by peace. There are so many ways we touch the truth in the psalmist’s words, “Be still, and know that I am
On Saturday of that retreat, a warm wind blew all day, occasionally whirling bright leaves high into the sky. I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). The gifts given on retreat are of the Spirit, and as unpredictable as the wind. We may be restored by deep rest, we may find in the spaciousness time to mourn, or to feel gratitude, or to discern next steps. We may even be touched by “the peace that passes all understanding” – a timeless moment that can change a life.
I believe that we need silent retreat at Dayspring more than ever. In these noisy, rancorous times we need to gather quietly in spiritual community, to wander the fields and forests and hear the voice described in Psalm 19: “Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (2-4). Here we rest in Divine Love, and share that love with the world we live in. That Dayspring exists here, in the suburbs of Washington, DC, in 2022, is a gift beyond words. As Elizabeth O’Connor wrote in 1963 in Call to Commitment, ten years after the Church of the Saviour purchased it, “Dayspring, like every other dream that has unfolded in this fellowship, was built on the sacrificial offerings of money, energy, time, and prayer.” The ongoing silent retreat ministry still depends on such offerings. Please consider supporting this ministry with a generous donation as you are able.
With deep gratitude,
Nat Reid on behalf of the Retreat Mission Group (December 2022)