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Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Day In The Life Of A Monk

Last week I, along with the rest of the Beeson crew, were taken to the Abbey of Gethsemani Monastery in Trappist, Kentucky (pictured above) where we enjoyed two days of almost complete silence and solitude. (Believe it or not, I can keep quiet). We worshiped 7 times each day (that's right- we went to church 7 times in one day) with the nearly 40 monks who lived there. The first time of worship was 3:15 am, called Vigils, and the last service was at 7:30 pm, called Compline. The worship times consisted mainly of the monks leading us in the singing of Psalms to God. They feel their primary purpose is to sing praise to God throughout the day. Not a bad reason for existence, if you ask me. One of the best things about the monastery, for most men at least, is that we got to eat meals in total silence with no pressure to talk. Food without small talk...a man's dream!

All joking aside, this 2 day experience impacted me greatly. It's amazing how much God has to say to us when we take the time to get away and listen for His voice. When no words are spoken and distractions are minimal it's amazing how the voice of God speaks profoundly into the silent stillness of our lives. And speak He did! I have pages and pages of reflections that I recorded in my journal. God met with me to confirm His calling upon my life and to sharpen that calling so that I am more about His business than my own. As I worshiped frequently, read Scripture, prayed and observed His beauty through nature the main message that God kept speaking into the silence was basically, "Len, your life and ministry will become what it can be if you focus more of your energy on the Lord of the work and not merely the on work of the Lord." I came away from this experience hungrier for Christ and more appreciative of His astounding grace. I believe the rest of my Beeson Pastor brothers felt the same.

Since a number of people from the Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church, where I serve as senior pastor, check out this blog I wanted to include a prayer that I believe I was inspired by God to write on their behalf. Here it is: "Lord, pour out Your Spirit upon them in a way that is undeniably Your doing. May their corporate times of worship, fellowship, study, and service become habits that draw them deeper into Your love. Protect them from fear, discouragement, apathy and pride while You work within their hearts to heal their wounds and hold their hands to help them live life to the absolute full." I love you, SWC!

Here are some more pictures from the monastery that I think you'll enjoy, interspersed with some pics from Sam's first birthday on August 3.




22 comments:

Michelle Stockton said...

What an experience! Scott LOVED going there twice a year. He loved the silence and hospitality. I think they have good fudge, too. He's looking forward to taking Silas there someday...From what I hear about the Beeson pastors, they get to experience a whole gammit of incredible things! Do you get to go to China?

bryan said...

Thanks for writing about the Beeson experience. As a member of last year's class, I'll be following your blog with great anticipation. I know you'll have a great year!

debbie bond said...

Sounds like an awesome experience. Thanks for sharing. And thank you for the church. I agree whole heartedly!!!

debbie bond said...

I meant church prayer!!!

Lenny said...

Thanks Michelle, Bryan and Debbie for checking out my blog. To answer Michelle's question about the Beeson Pastor Program, we are not going to China but Korea, as well as Romania. Pray that God would cultivate in us His heart not just for the USA but for the world. Scripture says He is the "God of the nations" (note the plurality).

Bryan, thanks for commenting. I checked out your blog several times and appreciated your perspective last year as you journeyed through the Beeson Program. Blessings to you and your ministry, and please keep in touch.

Debbie, thanks fo checking in frequently. We miss our Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church family and look forward to our visit in late September. Thanks for your service on the board and your prayers.

Anonymous said...

Michael Card has complied some great thoughts on the subject in "Sacred Silence". There appears to be a broad based increasing interest in both being ministered to and from extended/random periods of silence before the Lord. Some of the notions may be sourced in personality typology needs (Mt. 18:8)while others may be a response/defense mechanism triggered from the pulse/pace/pressures from the 'world systems' of non-stop 3 second info bits machine gunned at you through either media and/or life demands. Either way, I think the act is restoring and centering. I think the habit can be life altering, as it can serve as a type of fast as long as it is Biblically based/balanced. What would remain a concern for me would be if a sub culture would evolve over it's frequency of use, depth of 'personal communion' or aberant manifestations during its practice. It could become a badge of maturity or experience! So, marinated with humility, total dependency upon the Lord and heartfelt accountability to a mentor/partner, I regard the practice and DISCIPLINE to be worthy of effort as it holds much gain for the committed! "Be still and know that I am God!"

Periods of any separations from demands are generally beneficial but are not nor should become the norms. Paul encouraged those who practice marital separations, to avoid footholds/pitfalls inviting Satanic/unhealthy deprivations (1 Cor. 7:2-8)

I do not regard any attempts at perpetuating its full time use, as how could we be functioning "in the world" when we would actually be 'in' our own world.

My Friday commitment prevails for you and for your family/studies/internal-external needs!

Rest in Christ!

Thanks- Dave Dion, Sr.

Lenny Luchetti said...

Dave, thank you for your usual insightful and balanced comments. You perception of cultural noise is accurate. The need to enter into "sacred silence" is a must, in these days especially, if we're going to hear from God. Additionally, your thoughts about the subtle pride that can surface from the use of spiritual disciplines such as silence are helpful cautions. We humans have this long standing tendency (ever since Adam and Eve) to take blessings and turn them into curses, good things and turn them into evil things. While God takes things intended for evil and turns them into good, we have this knack for taking what God intends for good and turning into evil.

Thanks for praying for me and the family. We are doing well and enjoying the journey greatly, though we miss our SWC family.

With love for you, Mary and the girls.

Bajus Beach said...

Lenny ,
Wow a monastary . I loved your prayer on the blog it sounds almost pentecostal. Ha ha! I hope you remember tom and i . You know the bajus'. Our number is 910-328-6242

Seven Layers said...

Glad to see your blog. We finished (Kate and Scott Layer) last year's Beeson program and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Keep up the blogging!

Scott

Carlos said...

Wow, going to that monastery sounds like a great experience. Actually one of the things I've daydreamed about, aside from what it would be like to win a million dollars, is what it would be like to live in a monastery in silence. When I actually take the time to quiet my mind from all worries and problems and focus on God life seems so much more peaceful/meaningful and my mind feels so much clearer. It's interesting to imagine a place where day after day people live in a way to cultivate that.

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