The thing about robots is that their actions are limited by the people and programs that created them. While it is true that a robot can be programmed to draw from multiple sources of information, and therefore, can be smarter than the human that created it; it is also true that without the human being there is no robot at all. These days robots are being created and programmed not only to give blessings, but also to learn new things on their own and even, some claim, how to feel, as in be emotional. Yet whether it is giving a blessing or retrieving information or learning or feeling, a robot will always require a program of some sort to exist and the robot’s ability to perform its tasks will depend upon the genius of its creator. Of course humans are, well, human and even the most genius programmers and inventors among us get it wrong many times before we get it right.
The thing about humans is that we are limited not by our creator’s genius, but by our own humanity. In fact, when we are in the hands of our creator all things are possible, even the impossible, for we are not robots, but clay in the master potter’s hands. This is why it is so important to mindfully place ourselves in the presence of God and to seek God’s wisdom and direction for our individual and corporate lives and ministry.
It is with this mindset that I just completed a spiritual retreat with eight days of prayer at Campion Renewal Center (a Jesuit facility in Weston, MA) in preparation for beginning our ministry together.
Because I feel it is important to regularly place ourselves in God’s hands for shaping, spiritual retreats are an annual part of my spiritual discipline. During this retreat, made with others, but carried out in silence, I placed myself, the people, the congregation and the ministries of St. Mark into God’s hands, asking God to mold us and give us shape and direction and vision and passion and the will and ability to do whatever He asks of us.
I ask that you continue adding your prayers, as well as your listening ears, to mine so that we might begin our journey together steeped in the practice of prayer and bathed in the presence of God with-out whom we can do nothing.
I can tell you from experience that there is nothing robotic about a spiritual retreat. No two of the seventeen or so retreats I have made over the years have been the same. Let me also say that though they are called “retreats” the Spirit is often quite busy and much spiritual work is done. The one thing that has been consistent from retreat to retreat without fail is God’s faithfulness. Always God has revealed himself in real and present ways making it clear that he is not a robot but the living God in whom we live and move and breathe and have our being and who loves us more than we can ever dare to dream or imagine. I expected to meet God at this retreat and you can expect to hear about it as our journey continues together.
Pastor Cheryl Hoffman