One of the big things I face with every retreat is culling down my thoughts into a logical flow that fits into a neat package over three days (or one day, depending). With our work on the Threshold retreat, there is a fairly simple flow that seems to work – approaching the door, crossing the threshold, and moving on from the threshold.
The real question for me sits in the New Years Eve sermon. Yes, me! doing the preaching. I am thrilled and excited to do it. The options seem endless, but I have narrowed down to some thoughts on Shalom, and Shalom as the key to opening the door to God’s kingdom. The metaphors are rich, and hopefully not too mixed. There are amazing references to peace (Shalom) in the Old and New Testaments, with great passages to use. I want to make sure and round out the year on a happy, uplifting, promise filled note, and I feel that this message will be really appropriate for that. And, we do have a surprise in the mass, which will be fun.
I have chosen the readings, and I know I want to use the Prayer of Saint Francis as the hymn. I am going to take inspiration from the teachings of Letty Russell, and work her message of liberation into my sermon. I am worried, at one level, that this message will be very new and possibly challenging for a Catholic crowd. That’s not my intent, but if it is, I know that Letty would be delighted if it has a few people thinking in a new light as they enter a new year.