"it is marvelous in our eyes"

I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord's doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day which the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
(Ps 118.21-25)

This passage from prayer yesterday came back to me this morning. Last night at the church meeting it only took fifteen minutes for the community to decide that the Common Building apartment will be used for retreats. That also means we now have a place to move into and start preparing. It's been a long, uncertain road to get this far.

The line about rejection reminded me of our first attempt at retreat work, a year and a half ago. A crushing disappointment. But soon afterward, Plow Creek came to mind, which has many advantages over the retreat place we originally tried (much more acreage and natural beauty, larger community with kids too, close to Heather's relatives and our friends in Chicago, and more freedom in developing our own retreats). We had to wait quite a while, and at times it seemed very unlikely that it would work. But then we were surprised with an enthusiastic welcome almost a year ago. I even had thoughts then about using the Common Building apartment, but people were living in it, and there were a number of other objections to the idea. Now everyone is supporting and encouraging us to move in and get started.

I also hope that the retreat work here can be a focus of new life in the community. A means of reaching out and giving. And a way of exercising a more radical trust in God. When people come for the gatherings here this summer and next, it will be good to be able to tell of the new ministry for the poor here. And Heather and I hope our home, in the center of the community, will be a place of welcome and prayer for all the people who live here as well.