Years ago I spent five weeks at Holden Village Lutheran Retreat Center deep in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State to “get away.” I shared a room with my friend, Jan, which consisted of two twin beds, a writing desk, one chair, a small closet, and a sink. It was wintertime, cold and snowy. Mail came twice a week; there was no Internet or telephone service, no vehicles, and, I did not leave the village the entire time I were there.
At Holden I learned to live as a community. I worked thirty-two hours a week in exchange for board and room, cleaning public areas, guest rooms, and doing laundry. Every week I took my turn washing dishes and cleaning the dining hall after dinner. I worked along side people from all walks of life—gay couples, a transvestite, college students taking time away from studies, pastors on sabbatical, and retirees wanting to “give back.”
At the end of every day, the community gathered for worship. Anyone who wished to lead a service could do so. This quiet worship and sharing time was a wonderful way to end the day.
At Holden, I learned more about love and the grace of God in five weeks than in the sixty years I’d lived prior to this experience.
Dear Lord, thank you for helping me draw closer to you in a quiet village. Amen.