ECO RETREAT – DIOCESE OF MATLOSANE
Over forty clergy from the Diocese of Matlosane gathered for a retreat with a difference. This year Bishop Steve Diseko decided to hold an Eco-Retreat in the Ramosa Game Reserve in Zeerust.
The Retreat had three themes, water, trees and land.
The first day we looked at how often water is mentioned in the Bible , over 700 times! It has many meanings – the water of life, the water for cleansing and forgiveness, the water of the Spirit. In our small groups we discussed how water can be integrated into our liturgies. We were challenged to discover our own “Jordan river’ where does the water come from that was used at our baptism. We also looked at the importance of water in Eucharist – we often forget that there are three elements :wine, bread and water that we use. The day ended with a moving liturgy of forgiveness, where water helped us to release and forgive those who have hurt us in the past.
On day two we considered land. This is mentioned over 2000 times in the Bible and yet we do not preach or teach about it. The People of Israel are Chosen people of the promised land. We are also chosen people put here on the Earth. We need to work for the renewal of the Earth, as God has called us to be Earth keepers (Gen 2:15) On this afternoon we went on a game drive which was beautiful but quite heart breaking too as we saw the corpse of a giraffe and felt the sadness of the loss of one of these beautiful creatures of God.
On our final day we had our Eucharist service under a tree, and considered how our spirituality should be like a tree. In order to give good fruits we need to recognize that we are grafted in to someone else’s work, we need a stake when the winds get strong, and we need to be constantly watered and renewed.
Our final evening song was a highlight as we held it around the fire, worshipping God under God’s beautiful stars reminds you of the wonders of our Creator.
Let us be Keepers of God’s Earth and inspire our congregations to care for Creation