among the many events offered in the diocese of maryland every year, one that i always attend is the diocesan men's retreat.
the diocesan men's retreat is to be confused neither with an ignatian retreat, a silent retreat, nor a contemplative, reflective, quiet time. this is a tim allen's tool-time, power-yools kind of retreat. this is FUN.
where else can a bunch of guys play serious poker... where the winnings will be sent to feed hungry children in gaza? where else can you listen to an irish folk band sing, "Lord i lift Your Name on high" one minute, and homer simpson's version of Do-Re-Mi the next:
- Note: do not read this: It must be sung to the tune of Do-Re-Mi from "the sound of music"
DO - The stuff that buys me beer.
RE - The guy that sells me beer.
MI - The guy who needs a beer.
FA - A long, long way from beer.
SO - I'll have another beer.
LA - I'll have another beer.
TEA - No thanks. I'm drinking beer!
That will bring us back to ... (looks into an empty glass)
where else can you put a dozen guys in a center of room, cheered on by 3 dozen more, as they attempt to construct a perfect cube from swimming pool toys -- in less than a second (yes, it turns out, it IS possible) -- or a different dozen attempt to lower a hula hoop to the floor, horizontally, while each support the hoop by a single outstretched finger (a task which turns out to be IMpossible, apparently!!)
but finally, the payoff: the same group, after a weekend of prayer, fun, conversation, silliness, bible study, laughter and reflection, gathers as one to worship the living God through scripture reading, prayer, singing and communion. men standing and sharing their commitment to the future, their commitment to one another, their joy to remember they are not toads, but princes of the Kingdom of God.
it was a great weekend. inspiring and encouraging and challenging to me. i can't wait 'til next year.
the Lord be with you!