This is not to show you how spiritual I am, but I spent the weekend at an Advent retreat. Actually the retreat house is ten minutes’ walk from my house, but I stayed overnight because that’s the only way to get away from plaintive cries of ‘Mum’ at night. Also it happened to coincide with the Mennonite Christmas party, and as the retreat was half way between my house and the Mennonite Centre, I skived off the retreat on Saturday afternoon to go to the party.
Mennonite Christmas parties include nice easy crafts like cutting out snowflakes, sticking cloves in oranges and stringing popcorn (cooked) and cranberries (raw) together to make garlands, as well as lots of carol singing. Advent retreats include long periods of quiet, a few thoughtful reflections and a large quantity of good food (the building is also an international hostel full of students who eat a lot). At this one there was also a concurrent retreat of folk who had been turned down for Methodist ordination training. I actually didn’t know this until the end – well obviously I knew there was another group but I didn’t know what they had in common. Anyway during the communion service yesterday which the two groups shared, I had an extraordinary feeling that the man next to me was called to ministry. When I later discovered he’d just been turned down for training, I had to tell him about it. It was deeply embarrassing as I am not a person who normally has ‘words from the Lord’ all the time. But I hope it encouraged him.