08 March 2008

... in quietness and confidence shall be our strength ...

The words of this post’s title come from the section of prayers in The Book of Common Prayer, part of a petition in the collect "for quiet confidence" (pg 832). The line came to me again and again this morning during my time as retreat leader at St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in North Augusta. I addressed a group of between 35 and 40, a mixed group, but predominantly women, who had gathering to give over several precious hours of a Saturday to pursing their respective Lenten disciplines.

Everything about the morning was gentle. Registration and a light breakfast were scheduled for 8:30. I arrived about 10 minutes early and everything was sweetly ready early as well. Confidence. The morning’s program was held in the worship space and the event was to end with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist before lunch. The altar was already set when I walked in to plac my notes on the lecternbefore joining the participants for coffee. Quietness. My jittery nerves were significantly calmed by the sense of readiness I encountered.

I need not continue describing the day. The collect’s words pretty much say it all. Obviously, this parish knows how to offer and conduct a quiet day and the participants, most certainly, perceived that just as readily as I did. My address was followed by gentle question and answer, a period of solitary quiet and finally eager, intense small group discussion.

Quietness and confidence … a day of holy strength.

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