Fall Retreat 2010
If you are, or have ever been, a student, then you know that campus life is BUSY. As if classes, homework and exams weren’t enough, there are all those group meetings, advisor appointments, jobs, piles of laundry, dirty dishes, that whole planning-for-your-future thing, friends, and, oh yeah, mom asked you to call home tonight too. I don’t know about you, but as the semester goes by, I find myself wishing more and more for a pause button. It would be just like the one on your TV remote, but rather than getting Jim to hold off on pranking Dwight just long enough for you to run to the kitchen for a snack, my button would make everything stop for a bit while you catch your breath. Unfortunately, my pause button is nothing more than a beautiful dream. Thankfully, there’s a lovely thing called Fall Retreat that serves almost the same purpose as this nonexistent button!
Each year, Axiom’s Fall Retreat is a chance for students to get off campus and away from distractions, to bond with their fellow Axiom-ites, and to be immersed in God’s word. This year, we headed down to Springfield, IL to spend September 24th and 25th at Lake Springfield Christian Assembly. In addition to a building where we held worship, the camp grounds were complete with playgrounds, a gym to play basketball in and, of course, a beautiful lake. It was the perfect place to forget about the demands of school and get lost in the beauty and majesty of the Lord. We even got the chance on Friday night to worship our glorious Creator around a campfire beneath a blanket of stars. As we sang and prayed it was easy to feel God’s presence, and to see that He is constantly working and moving in each our lives.
The topic of the retreat this year was the Power of Forgiveness: What’s so good about loving your enemy? Dr. Gayle L. Reed from the University of Wisconsin was our guest speaker. She specializes in Christian forgiveness counseling, and offered many valuable insights into what forgiveness is and is not, as well as how to grant forgiveness and how to receive it. Aside from the three main sessions, we also spent time in small groups discussing what we were learning, and some of the hurts in each of our lives that require forgiveness in one form or another. Dr. Reed explained that, like many other things Jesus asks us to do, forgiveness is not always easy. It’s often a messy process, and it takes time. Moreover, in our society, the words “I forgive you” have begun to lose their meaning. However, forgiveness isn’t just saying the words, nor is it pretending that everything is okay again when it isn’t. Instead, it’s recognizing the shared humanity between you and the person who’s hurt you, and allowing the grace and love of Jesus Christ to heal you both. It was certainly not the most lighthearted of topics, but it was one to which nearly everyone could relate.
By the end of the weekend, we had formed stronger bonds with each other, because for two days, we weren’t crazed, sleep deprived college students leading separate lives – we were a community of Christ followers learning how to live out our faith in a broken world. When we got back to campus Saturday night, we were recharged and re-centered, ready to take on everything campus life had to throw at us. Experiences like Fall Retreat are the closest I’ve ever come to actually finding a pause button that works on the real world. In fact, I think they’re probably better than any button could ever be.
Just in case you don’t want to take my word for it when I say that Fall Retreat was awesome, here are a few of the highlights!
The best part of Fall Retreat was…
- “singing around the campfire, and enjoying the company of others as we lifted praises to God.” – J.D. Maloney
- “singing and praying around the campfire, and learning a lot about self-forgiveness.” – Derek Walsh
- “worshiping God in a community… and bonding with so many lovely people.” – Christine Shukis
- “worship! And I loved playing basketball. And I loved just learning about God with my favorite people.” – Kayla Campbell
P.S. Bummed that you missed Fall Retreat? Be sure to attend Axiom’s Winter Retreat after Christmas break!