Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Visit To The Abbey

This past Saturday I took my Baptist Seminary of Kentucky class in Spiritual Formation to the Abbey of Gethsemani.  I've been teaching this particular class for 12 years and I've taken the students to the Abbey every year.  During the semester in the classroom, we read about spirituality.  The students write papers, book reviews and enter lively discussions about spirituality.  We talk about the various types of praying as well as ways of approaching scripture.  I've discovered that it is important for the students to visit the Abbey so that we can experience a place where spirituality is lived, not just discussed.  During our visit, the class meet with one of the Monks.  He has been at the Abbey for 50 years.  At the Abbey, he has prayed all of the Psalms every two weeks for 50 years.  He has lived very simply; he practices obedience and stability to the Abbey.  His spirituality is not only in his head but, also, of his heart.  When the students return to the Seminary classroom, they usually respond with an "Oh, that's what a spiritual life is really like."  It isn't that everyone is called to a vocation of prayer and a life in a monastery.  Nevertheless, as Believers we are called to a life that is centered in God's love for everyone.  That love is not just a head knowledge, as important as that may be, but, also, a heart knowledge that demonstrates God's love with everyone and all of creation.