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Good Morning MVC - April 21stby David Miles on April 21, 2020
Hello MVC Family,
A few years ago I visited the Abbey of Gethsemani, in Trappist, Kentucky. This is the oldest operating monastery in the United States, having been established in 1848. It was also home to Thomas Merton, a prolific writer, activist and someone who I find to be incredibly fascinating.
My trip to Gethsemani was for a seminary class but my time there ended up being so much more than just an academic experience. In fact my trip turned out to be one of the most spiritually significant events of my life.
On the first day I sat under an oak tree journaling and ended up picking up a pocket full of acorns that I brought home as a reminder of my time at the monastery.
Last night I was reflecting on the trip as I was supposed to have returned earlier in the day from a prayer retreat at Gethsemani. Unfortunately this had been cancelled as so many other events have been in the last several weeks. As I thought about my trip I remembered the acorns I found that first day and how I still had them. But what really stood out to me was the profoundly impacted life that I left the monastery with. I returned home from that trip a changed person.
I soon found myself thinking about our current situation and how I do hope that when we find ourselves on the other side of this pandemic I am a changed person. A person who has been refined and transformed. Specifically I was thinking about how I need to slow my everyday life down. It is so easy to get caught up in the tasks of life that we fail to be present, just as Steve Bodwell said during our time of worship on Thursday night.
In the same way that in Luke 10:38-42 when Jesus visits Mary and Martha, Martha gets caught up in the doing, so too do I find myself focused on the tasks at hand and neglect the importance of being present. Mary was very present with Jesus and it is my hope that I too will come out of this experience more intentional about being present with the Lord, my family, and those around me.
My question for you, is how do you hope to be changed through the circumstances we are facing? What do you hope to carry with you from this experience? While I left the Abbey of Gethsemani with some acorns as a reminder of my time there, it really was the personal transformation that reminds me most of my experience and it is my hope that your own personal transformation will be one of the things you remember most from our days navigating this pandemic.