The summer of 2020 has been a different experience in so many ways. Many have stayed closer to home in the days that would typically include vacations and travel. The cookouts have been fewer and smaller, and the summer holiday celebrations have been muted at best. In order to love one another better, families have been required to socially distance rather than come together. Our world has faced a global pandemic presenting not only challenges to our health but also to our livelihood. Yet, in the face of innumerable challenges, seventy five courageous souls from across the United States - New York to Arizona, Puerto Rico to Ohio, Florida to Texas - decided to pray through the summer of 2020.
In June, ISI launched the Finding Christ in the World retreat with seven small groups meeting each week online. It is no small thing to commit to twelve weeks of daily prayer and weekly meetings. We did not know how it might work, or if it would work. Would we be able to come together as pray-ers on a journey through technology and small screens? Could the distance and differences between locations be closed and become communal? Would we, in fact, find Christ in our world challenged by pandemic, prejudice, and politics? We did not know. So, we prayed.
The Lord responded generously in ways only the Lord can do. Retreatants discovered new ways of praying that have proven to be rich and fruitful. Many experienced healing and all matured in faith and hope. We have found Christ in the world, and experienced Jesus inviting us to love and labor alongside him. As we turn our faces toward fall, we now recognize we all needed a summer of prayer. Our heads are opened to new perspectives, our hearts are filled with gratitude, and our hands are ready to hold what the world gives.