Sabbatical Reflections – Gene Miller

posted Jul 25, 2013, 12:09 PM by NYMC Webmaster   [ updated Oct 1, 2013, 7:32 AM ]
Sharon and I were deeply blessed and rejuvenated by a three month sabbatical earlier this year. A trip to Israel and Jordan was clearly the highlight of the sabbatical. It was an amazing opportunity to experience the land of Jesus. I will never read the Bible the same way again because now the land and the Biblical setting has come alive. We also heard from many quality lecturers --passionate and articulate Palestinian and Jewish leaders who shared their hopes and fears. In this extraordinarily complex setting, there are no easy answers.

Extensive reading provided space for learning and relaxation. In addition to the Bible, some of the ministry related books that I read focused on mission and preaching. I did a fair amount of reading on the concept of Sabbath. We have largely lost the concept of Sabbath rest, but it is one of the 10 commandments.

Sharon and I also were blessed by participating in a Mennonite and Brethren Marriage Encounter for pastoral leaders in Maryland for 3 days.

I chose to give a significant amount of time to growth in spiritual disciplines and spiritual direction. I met three times in Lancaster with Marcus Smucker (and once by phone) for spiritual direction. A thorough reading and study of the book “Soul Feast” by Marjorie Thompson proved beneficial. I have developed a ‘Rule of Life’ regarding how I practice spiritual disciplines; this is proving helpful to me. Spiritual refreshing, renewed passion, and prayer: I am seeing changes/fruit in each of these areas.