Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Father Elias (on the left) is the new Abbot at the Abbey of Gethsemani in central Kentucky. He is the senior temporal and spiritual leader with responsibility for the largest and oldest Trappist monastery in the United States. He is new to the job but a long time member of the monastic community that is located outside of Bardstown.
Over the years I have spent my fair share of time at Gethsemani. In fact, I was there most of yesterday. It is always a delightfully quiet and reflective experience to share worship with the monks and to walk the lush and peaceful grounds. My soul responds to the spirit of the place. I am captured by the commitment of the monks and the desire to know God through worship, work and study. I find peace here.
It is interesting to identify the places that become holy ground for our journey of faith. There are places and people who encourage us, lift us, and provide blessing just by being present. I hope you have some of those people and places that have become marking points for your spiritual life. Maybe a friend, a teacher, a neighbor or a pastor...perhaps a building, a church, a meadow, a cabin, or a temple where your spirit soars when you walk through the door.
I think I enjoy the Trappist community for the same reason I am captivated by the Methodist movement in South Korea. They all expect God to move in the world through the power of prayer. The anticipate the ministry of the Holy Spirit simply because faithful people have expressed their heart through deeply committed prayer. For Trappist communities it happens seven times each day starting at 3:15 in the morning. For the Korean Christians it is all about early morning prayer groups that gather seven days a week to provide intercession for each other, the church, and the world.
Interesting, God moves when people pray. Ministry become effective when it is under girded with prayer. Life becomes connected to the spiritual when faithful believers offer their hearts in consistent communication with God.
It is always a potent reminder to me. It is all about God...it is all about our faith...it is all about the journey that is connected through commitment and obedience.