Tag Archives: Retreat

None is Higher than Hospitality

Henri Nouwen, the great spiritual writer, was going to a monastery for a retreat. The monks observed vows of silence and the retreat was to be meditative and prayerful. Nouwen was delayed and was late getting to the Monastery on a verywelcome miserable, rainy night. Upon his arrival, he rang the bell and was met at the door by one of the brothers. He warmly greeted Henri, took his wet coat, took him to the kitchen and made him a cup of tea. They chatted into the late night hours and Nouwen began to relax and feel ready for the retreat. He knew this monk was supposed to observe silence, so he finally asked him, “Why are you willing to sit and talk with me?” The monk replied, “Of all the duties of the Christian faith and the rules of my order, none is higher than hospitality.”

The church is a community as well, and hospitality should be a primary focus. Today’s church should be a place of welcome to all who come our way. There should be no connotation that only “rule followers” are welcome at the church. I fear that we have forgotten the concept of radical hospitality and confused it with assimilation into our group. If the church is to practice true hospitality, it must practice inclusiveness. That means no one is barred from total participation in the life of the church. I am concerned that we have lost sight of a most important tenet of Christianity. I thank the monastics for giving us a reminder.

Prayer Thought – Lord help me to remember that the open door of hospitality can have eternal consequences.

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Right in Front of Us

abbotThere is an old story that has often been re-told in especially the Eastern Orthodox part of the church. According to the tale, a devout abbot from a Monastery decided to take a prolonged spiritual retreat in a small cabin located on a remote island in the middle of a large lake. He told his fellow monks that he wanted to spend his days in prayer so as to grow closer to God. For six months he remained on the island with no other person seeing him or hearing from him in all that time. But then one day, as two monks were standing near the shore soaking up some sunshine, they could see in the distance a figure moving toward them. It was the abbot, walking on water, and coming toward shore. After the abbot passed by the two monks and continued on to the Monastery, one of the monks turned to the other and said, “All these months in prayer and the abbot is still as stingy as ever. After all, the ferry costs only 25 cents!”

Humor aside, the point of the story is that it’s amazing how easily we may sometimes miss the significance of something that is right in front of us.

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A Lenten Meditation

United Methodist Hymnal
Hymn 386: Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown
Charles Wesley

Come, O thou Traveler unknown,

Whom still I hold, but cannot see!

My company before is gone,

And I am left alone with Thee;

With Thee all night I mean to stay,

And wrestle till the break of day;

With Thee all night I mean to stay,

And wrestle till the break of day.

 

I need not tell Thee who I am,

My misery and sin declare;

Thyself hast called me by my name,

Look on Thy hands, and read it there;

But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?

Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?

Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

 

‘Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear Thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
Pure, universal love Thou art;
To me, to all, Thy mercies move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.
To me, to all, Thy mercies move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.


By clicking on the picture below you can see an excellent “3 minute Retreat” video prepared by United Methodist Communications using this Wesleyan hymn as background. I hope it is as peaceful to you as it was to me.


Lenten Meditation

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