Spiritual Rhythms was a four-day retreat for Fellows Class 18 to cultivate habits of spiritual discipline and take in the beauty of creation. Spiritual discipline is training for shalom (the way things ought to be) in which both the Holy Spirit and you have to participate. The ever-growing intimacy of Class 18 was evident in the openness we had with each other as we dove into each rhythm. We practiced and matured in our knowledge of these rhythms: solitude, submission, celebration, the Eucharist, worship, confession, and prayer.

Our first spiritual rhythm was solitude, the discipline of relinquishment. As we sat alone in the forest, we experienced God’s glorious handiwork. We were given time to be completely away from the noise of the world, just the Creator and you. I (Joshua) read, wrote, and listened to Him who made me in His image. I let go of the weight of the image I hold in front of others and learned to lean on Him for my identity. Hammocks were the most common choice of comfort at this time, and many Fellows drifted into a Christ-centered slumber.

We continued with submission, which is self-denial and putting someone else’s will ahead of yours. As we began our night hike, we entered dark caves with nothing but a headlamp and each other. Reliance on one another was needed as we traversed an unknown landscape. We sacrificed our own desires to give comfort to others.

CELEBRATION! When I heard that celebration was a discipline, I was taken aback. Celebrations are joyous times when we take a moment to pause and be in a state of delight. We celebrated the Lord and His provision when we partook in the Eucharist and times of worship. Then, with the glory of His creation before us, we practiced confession and prayed with one another. These were rich moments of blessing, encouragement, and appreciation.

After long days, my peers and I played board games and music together and enjoyed each other’s company under the stars with a bonfire crackling away. These spiritual rhythms will prompt us to celebrate and submit to one another. I shall forever cherish the memories and lessons I learned during this time away from campus.

Joshua Smart
Inverness, Scotland