Tag Archives: wesley

A South Georgia Methodist in the Monastery Court

Here is an article I have pre-written for my church’s newsletter next week concerning my trip to Taize:


A South Georgia Methodist in the Monastery Court

“How would your wife feel if you went out of town for 12 days in August?” Thus I was invited to spend a portion of the summer with members of the South Georgia Conference in the small village of Taize (pronounced te-zaye) with the brothers of the Taize monastic community (read: monks). The purpose of this trip is to encourage young adults throughout the conference to attend this tour in the future and to share our experiences with local churches. It is an honor to be entrusted with this responsibility and an honor to have the South Georgia Conference fund my way on this “pilgrimage.”

We began our trip on July 31st with a flight from Jacksonville to JFK in New York City. We flew from there to London, England. We not only saw some of the great London sites, such as Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral, but we also found ourselves steeped in Wesleyan tradition. We visited City Road Chapel, the site of John Wesley’s home and grave, the burial site of Susanna Wesley, and Aldersgate Street where Wesley found his “heart strangely warmed.”

Since Sunday, we have been in the Burgundy region of France (towards the south-east) at the Taize Community. Some of us are staying in rustic dorms and others of us are staying in tents outside. We begin our morning at 8:15am with morning prayer and breakfast followed by reflection or small group discussion. We have midday prayer at 12:20 followed by lunch, small group discussions, workshops, chores and dinner. We have evening prayer and vigil followed by night silence until we fall asleep. Believe it or not, this is an amazing experience!

One of the hallmarks of the Taize community is its worship. Many people who have heard of Taize have been introduced by its worship music. The music is built around short, repetitive phrases that are sung in Latin. Why Latin? During a typical summer week, there may be 6,000 people from all over the world. The brothers decided that Latin held no allegiance to a particular culture and would be a way to stress our unity as Christian believers. There is no sermon at a Taize worship service; these services are characterized by the reading of scripture, silence, and prayer. Through this experience we commune with God and we listen to God. The music, prayers, introspection, and environments are influencing worship all over the world, especially in young adult circles. I should return to the United States on August 11th (probably not in time to attend church council—sorry Robert!).

I hope to share about this life-changing experience sometime soon with a special presentation. Until then, thank you so much for your continued prayers for my family and my safety.

A bientôt,

Jim

as we leave the desert.

At Easter we find a resurrected Christ. After a contemplative observance of Lent, it seems fair to pray for a sort of resurrection of our own lives–a deliverance from the desert, if you will.

A Prayer by Thomas Merton
from Thoughts in Solitude

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

“I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.”
Amen.

John Wesley

As we leave the desert, Lord, let us rise with Christ having died to the flesh and alive in Him. Forge in us the discipline of discipleship. Create in us the will, desire, and strength to sacrifice for you and seek your face each day. Remind us always of the desert, of Good Friday, and of a Saturday spent in a tomb. We give you glory for a Sunday morning, a stone rolled away, and victory. Amen