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Free & Fit - Spiritual Direction Weekend Retreat - Prayers with Scripture & Walking, Jogging or Run

Free & Fit - Spiritual Direction Weekend Retreat - Prayers with Scripture & Walking, Jogging or Running and Picking Litter (Plogging) Earth Day Special - Co-ordinated by Tim Cheux



Introduction to Recreational Online Retreat

- How to Plog through a Pandemic


After completing our online retreat last May, our outdoor Plogging activity or Earth Day and continued Spiritual Direction and Scripture sessions I have decided to explore Walking, Jogging or Running with Scripture as a Spiritual Discipline and outdoor online retreat activity.


This May, as part of a recreational community weekend retreat, I am offering a Sports focused Spiritual retreat. Focusing on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) and Ecclesiastes promises (Ecclesiastes 3) the weekend will include Old and New Testament themed life focused study with a Christ centered Gospel message with an evangelistic theological perspective.


Theological Perspective


In John 15: 1-18 Jesus declares that he is the “true vine”, I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.” John‬ ‭15:1‬ ‭NRSV‬‬, and we are the “branches”, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” John‬ ‭15:5‬. That we have been woven into the future of mankind with Jesus and that we will be in eternity in heaven, where Christ has prepared a place for us. It is here where I find solace, time alone with Christ in creation whilst out walking, jogging or running and moving, meditating and memorizing on God's word.


The pace by which we encounter Christ will not interfere with our Lord and Savior. Perhaps in your quiet time you prefer to walk slowly, burn a candle and be alone with Christ in the wilderness, or perhaps you encounter Christ during a lunchtime jog and meditation whilst on break from work or maybe Christ meets you on your treadmill or race track in the midst of an online class or race meet. Whatever your pace of life. Whether you are walking, jogging or running with, towards or away from Christ he is right there with you in the midst.


The author whilst reflecting on this upcoming weekend recalled being asked to study a tree. To pray under a tree daily and to imagine being alone with Jesus outdoors in the Spring, Summer and Fall months by the tree a spiritual prayer companion and faithfully planted, rooted member of Christ's family and a friend of mine. Trees to me represent Christ. An outdoor image of Gods image, created, rooted and spiritually planted for our prayer lives to remind us we are the branches and Christ is the true vine.


Practical Background and Sporting/Fitness Context


During the retreat four types of sports and / or fitness spiritual practices will be made available. Walking with Jesus, Jogging with The Beatitudes, Sprinting with Ecclesiastical Promises (needs to be added) and Psalmimg, Plogging and Planking on Earth Day.


Walking with Jesus - Morning of Retreat Activity and Pre-Retreat Activity


As a starting point guests will be invited to “walk a mile in Christ shoes.” Similar to a labyrinth walk, but without a circular repetitive path, guests will be invited to walk with a silent meditation of lectio divina with the passage when Jesus is walking with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Emmaus story occurs in Luke 24:13-35 where Jesus appears to two faithful believers and reveals himself to them in his post resurrection body. It is a story of hope, faith and hunger. A spiritual hunger to know Christ.


The walk will be self guided and should be completed before the retreat as preparation for the weekend and a shared activity on the retreat. The walk should be no shorter than a mile, but could go further than three miles. This scripture could be ideally studied and heard over a three mile distance with optional water and prayer breaks after a one mile distance. Routes should be planned to not be along the same path, but can be with a final destination occurring with repeat route such as walking in a complete loop three times. Instead a simple mile and a half to and from maybe more advised.


Scripture: Luke 24:13-35 (Appendix 1 - Walking with Jesus)


Method: Walking with headphones and listening three times to the scripture in lectio divina style. Perhaps in different translations through headphones.


Resources: You, sensible walking shoes, phone and or Ipod, headphones, a Bible or Bible App such as Hallow, Abide of You Version Bible App to read Luke 24:13-35 and a planned route to follow either via GPS or map.


Jogging with The Beatitudes


Whilst on the retreat after the first seminar on the “Stretch and Prayer” warm up and warm down a session based on the book by ELCA’s Murray D Fink, “Stretch and Pray: A Daily Discipline for Physical and Spiritual Wellness”, as an introduction to our day and a devotional to close our day. This will include a focus on the Lords prayer and the Jesus prayer as included in our class session.


The next step was to follow the Jogging parts of the Walk, Jog or Run option with the Beatitudes. This would include a light jog over a short space either on the treadmill, around a closed space in the home, outdoors or even simply on the spot for five to ten minutes. The passage would be taken from Matthew 5 and guests would be encouraged to read the passage before and after two minutes of interval jogging.


Simply put, jogging with two minute intensity and thirty seconds reflection on two Beatitudes read throughout a fifteen minute time period. With thirteen verses the reading should be completed after ten minutes of jogging and four sets of thirty second intervals for reading and reflection.


Scripture: Matthew 5:1-13


Method: Jogging for two minutes with thirty second intervals on the Beatitudes. Two verses per thirty second interval.


Resources: You, sensible running shoes, workout clothes, phone and or Ipod, headphones, a Bible or Bible App such as Hallow, Abide of You Version Bible App to read Luke 24:13-35 and a planned route to follow either via GPS or map.


Sprinting with Ecclesiastes


This specific method of Sports and Spirituality requires more physical fitness and endurance than our previous two. A workout and a warm up are essential. Both static and dynamic methods must be used. The focus will be on a pyramid of sprints with each specific Ecclesiastical reflection a verse at a time. For example verses one and two could be read with a 60% 100 meter sprint, verses three and four over a 80% 200 meter sprint, verses five and six over a 100% 400 meter sprint, verses seven and eight over a 80% 200 meter sprint, verses nine and ten over a 60% 100 meter sprint and a final 50 meter jog or walk with stretching with verses eleven through fifteen.


Each sprint would need minute or two minute intervals dependent upon the individual and it would be best advised to do this on a running track opposed to in the house, on the spot or on any random running route. Again, extreme caution, precaution and preparation would need to be included with a personal running partner or family member present to be able to administer CPR or call an ambulance in case of an emergency. This is extremely unlikely, but always advisable when increasing the body's heart rate and testing the human body at higher than normal or average exercise or activity.


Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15


Method: Sprinting at 60-80-100-80-60 pyramid percentage effort with minute or two minute intervals to read scripture.


Resources: You, sensible running shoes, workout clothes, phone and or Ipod, headphones, a Bible or Bible App such as Hallow, Abide of You Version Bible App to read Luke 24:13-35 and a planned route to follow either via GPS or map.


Plogging on Earth Day - Creative Project - Plogging on Earth Day


The creative project I have chosen will be focused on this year’s earth day and building upon what I did laast year in the pandemic. I have attached my power point from class with my submission, subsequent social media posts on Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram and a brief breakdown of a plan for this creative peoject.


Title


Plogging on Earth Day 2021 - Walking, Jogging or Running and Picking Litter. Total Time for this session generally an hour – no more than an hour and a half.


The session itself will be 30 minutes with three social meida posts on the build via Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram.


The social media posts will be written once, and re-emphasise the date and time and how to take part.


The first post was created on Thursday of last week with this image:


Figure 1.1 Earth Day Post on Social Media


Source: Adapted from Source Creative Application


This image was adapted from last year’s Earth day plogging campaign and includes the slogan “May Gods Peace be with our Planet”.


This post was shared on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp with the following text, details and hashtags.


Figure 1.2 - Social Media Text



“Earth Day ~ 2021 ~ Plogging

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Walk ~Jog ~ Run

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Visit: www.freenfit.org

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Earth Day: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/

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Plogging: https://www.goplogging.org

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Next Thursday is Earth Day and we are inviting you at 1pm to join us for a Walk, Jog or Run to pick litter and exercise! We will be “Plogging” wearing gloves, a mask, hand sanitiser and taking refuse sack (🇬🇧) or garbage bag (🇺🇸)

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Please note we advise huge caution during these times. Be careful not to pick up things with bare hands, don’t pick up unsanitary items, needles or anything which may look like liquid or food that has been used!

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See you next Thursday at 1pm on Instagram as @freeandfitnyc ! Love & Blessings F&F Team

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The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness—Psalm 65:12

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Source: @freeandfitnyc Instagram Page


Session #: Name or Focus of Session


As discussed there will be three social media posts. One the Thursday before, one on the Monday before and one on the Wednesday before plus additional posts on the Thursday morning shared to the story of each profile on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


The second post again used a similar image to last year with the title “Plogging” and it included the same text as the previous post which will be updated and adapted for the last post.


Figure 2.1 Second Social Media Post on Facebook and Instagram



Source: Adapted from Source Creative Application


The third and final post includes a new image with stock images taken from the “Over Creative” Application available on Iphones through the App store. This application helped me adapt a previous image and to advertise the post with more distinctive Earth Day pictures.


Figure 2.2 Earth Day Final Post on Social Media




Source: Adapted from Source Creative Application


Finally, the text on Instagram and Facebook was different to what was used to previous days slightly abd included different fonts.


Figure 2.3 Whatsapp Social Media Post



Source: Free and Fit NYC Whatsapp Group


This post was shared to all my Free and Fit, my personal Sports and Arts Ministry, networks for Outreach, London and New York and to a GTS encouragement group.


Bible Passage: “Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed, O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come. When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions. Happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple. By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might. You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. Those who live at earth's farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy. You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭65:1-13‬ ‭NRSV‬‬


Source:


https://www.bible.com/2016/psa.65.1-13.nrsv


Goal and reason why this is your goal: To create awareness about Earth Day and to reduce pollution.


Materials: What will you need for this Creative Project session?


Best described from our original social media post here: “We will be “Plogging” wearing gloves, a mask, hand sanitiser and taking refuse sack (🇬🇧) or garbage bag (🇺🇸) “.


Preparation: What do you need to have set up before you begin?


Social Media campaign, equipment, powerpoint before class and a willingness to go outside!


Context: Give background information that you will share in your Creative Project study


I will introduce Free and Fit, the concept of Plogging and its relationship to Earth Day. This will take up about five minutes of the session and will include links on our social media posts to both the context of Earth Day and the concept of Plogging.



Close Look at the Text: Share/Discuss some insights that come from a close reading of the text. This can be in paragraphs or outline form, as above.( # minutes)


In the social media posts I included one specific verse and will focus on this in the Earth Day session itself including a Prayer and Stretch. This verse is Psalm 65:12


The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness—Psalm 65:12


Activity: How are you going to lead your participants in connecting with the text? ( # minutes)


I will share a short prayer and stretch which will srart with the Lord's prayer and close with the Jesus Prayer. This will be about two minutes after the five minute introduction at the beginning and end of the session.


Discussion: What key questions do you want to ask of the participants?


How do they feel about Plogging? Do they feel it helps to contribute towards the local environment? This will focus on the core function of using Plogging as a way to build community through a virtual event using Sport, Outreach and existing contacts to communicate this unique Earth Day Creative Project. This will be online interactive after the event on comments, live on Youtube as a Premier and in context to the Earth Day activity at 1pm on Thursday 22nd April live on Instagram via @freeandfitnyc


Why? ( # minutes)


To build community, reduce pollution, reduce loneliness and help the planet on a local and individual level.


Arts: Will you have a film clip, PowerPoint, poem, song, etc? ( # minutes)


Yes Power Point Attached, a prayer will be said and post across all Free and Fit NYC media platforms.


Conclusion


The Project still needs some work and has to include more details about the Sprinting with the Ecclesiastes 3 passage, but creates a good platform for this month's retreat - How to Plog through a Pandemic. Through the creative, spiritual and reflective practices I believe we will create space for the Holy Spirit to move, live and have a present and powerful encounter with us this Spring.


The audience for this retreat will be for thirty to forty somethings and include waivers for health, covid and liability reasons. Furthermore, a poster similar to the Earth Day poster will be used and the events will be streamed live on zoom and made available on demand afterwards on Youtube.


An advert, poster and social media campaign will be created and both Westwood UMC in NJ and PCUSA Connections Community Church will be included as well as any members from Free and Fit and friends from HTB and Hillsong.


Appendix 1 - Walking with Jesus


“Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭24:13-35‬ ‭NRSV‬‬


Appendix 2 - Jogging with The Beatitudes


“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:1-12‬ ‭NRSV‬‬


Appendix 3 - Sprinting with Ecclesiastical Promises


“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God's gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-15‬ ‭NRSV‬‬


Love & Blessings F&F Team

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