Daily Archives: February 22, 2012

The Retreat – A Worship Time

A time of silence, contemplation, prayer and Holy Communion that seeks to employ the use of symbols and Sacrament to draw us closer to God.     

Wednesdays at 6:45 P.M.

 As one enters the sanctuary at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on Wednesday evening, the setting is peaceful. A Gregorian chant is playing softly. Candles have been lit and they brighten the front section around the altar. A handful of worshipers are already in their seats, waiting quietly or praying. Rev. Irvin Boudreaux greets others, St. Luke’s members and visitors, at the front door as they arrive, moving away from the bustle of Canal Boulevard and busy affairs in the city to enjoy a serene, brief time of spiritual renewal.

 At St. Luke’s Wednesday Contemplative Worship service, called “The Retreat”, a quiet time begins at 6:30 p.m. for those arriving early. The service begins at 6:45 p.m. and lasts about a half hour. The mid-week gathering features Scriptural readings, times of silence for prayer, a brief sermon by Rev. Boudreaux that expounds on the Scripture readings, the taking of Holy Communion and more time for quiet reflection. At several points the service is enhanced by the playing of Taizé or Gregorian chant music that has long been a feature of certain Christian worship experiences around the world.

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John Wesley Fast

English: Portrait drawing of John Wesley, foun...

English: Portrait drawing of John Wesley, founder of Methodism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is the “John Wesley Fast?
Each Thursday evening, after the evening meal, until mid-afternoon on each Friday, Methodist people are invited to follow Wesley’s example of fasting and prayer. During this time he did not take solid food but fasted and focused much of his time in prayer.

What is a fast? 
Normally persons do not use solid food, but continue with liquids during such a short but regular fast.

Who is invited to participate in the “John Wesley Fast?”
John Wesley expected the “preachers” to participate, and he wanted all of the Methodist leaders and people to follow this discipline.

Why this pattern?
Methodist people are invited to discover the power in this regular pattern and discipline that John Wesley followed for a half a century. For Wesley, the more important reason for fasting was that fasting is a help to prayer.

During this Lenten season let me suggest that we all observe the “John Wesley Fast” as a Lenten discipline.

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Filed under Fasting, John Wesley, Lent