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Sunday Lectio – reading the signs. Cold sores, conjunctivitis, and mild depression reassured me that I was long overdue for some down time. In spite of (or maybe because of) reaching some heart-felt goals, I had been feeling rundown and lethargic for a few weeks. I booked a cabin at Dwellingup, an old wood-cutting community at the base of the Darling Ranges, about 100 km from Perth. I grabbed a few books, the laptop, and some living essentials and headed south. Settling in, walking around, discovering the bush track into town and adjusting to spaciousness was already proving cathartic. I felt a connection to God’s presence – a feeling that had been lacking recently. The silence of the bush that night was soothing.

Monday Meditatio – chewing things over. Mostly I walked …and walked. Not very far as I was still weak from fighting off ‘flu symptoms – probably about 12 km – slowly with many stops to notice and consider. Never far from the railway line. I like railway lines – they are going somewhere. Even when they converge and mysteriously disappear over the horizon, one can trust in a destination. I almost finished reading Salley Vickers The Other Side of You (Fourth Estate, 2006). No railway tracks here, but a riveting narrative featuring at its centre Luke’s account of the Road to Emmaus through the eyes of medieval artist Caravaggio.

Tuesday Oratio – praying out loud. Finished reading Vickers. Could not get the book out of my mind. I’ve reviewed it separately for the Dayspring blog. Re-read Lee Camp Mere Discipleship – the final two chapters on communion and evangelism. Began the process of synthesising – the Emmaus presence of the crucified and risen one brought about by hearts beating in syncopation with his generous and gracious Way that demands all and gives all. How this expresses itself in community with one another and this in itself announces good news to the world. What measures does one take to break the institutional mould that keeps such dangerous transformations at bay? Does this mean jumping railway tracks that lead rigidly to a predetermined destination – and we careen off into the uncharted scrubland to who knows where? Or does it mean following the track as the “narrow way” even when the accretions of time and institutionalised self-interest see it overgrown with weeds and disuse?

Wednesday Contemplatio – letting matters settle. Tomorrow I will be hitting the ground running. Several interviews, meetings, conferences, a promotional dinner, planning, and sermon prep all within 3 days. What is the essence I will bring to all this? Four days ago I would have gone through the motions with my well practiced mask of competency. Today I feel I’ve reconnected with the source of energy that keeps me focused – the Presence that makes all the difference. In keeping with the railway metaphor, the Engine that pulls the wagons. And if such a metaphor sounds too crass – access to a continuing dialogue with the Emmaus Christ who will keep challenging the dullness of those yet to see in order that all things may be transformed.