Methodists And Mystics

A formidable force of Methodist women from the five districts that make up northern Britain gathered at Minsteracres Retreat Centre, near Newcastle. I led two sessions on Celtic spirituality, followed by a sun-drenched prayer walk in their peace garden and grounds, ending with an Ascension Day ascent up the steps. I spoke of hospitality as a key to the early evangelism of Ireland. 'That's what Salvation Army founder William Booth believed', someone said, 'soup, soap and salvation were his three priorities.' Another participant told me of a Sikh who became a Christian minister, and continued the Sikh custom of families banding together to provide free meals. He wrote a book with the word 'table' in the title. Can anyone point me to the full title?

Today pilgrims from Tyndale Seminary, Toronto came to The Open Gate to explore Celtic insights i nto evangelism. Someone came to tea who belongs to a 5,000 member church led by plan-driven pastors with Ph.D's. They spend three hours on plans and five minutes on prayer. She does the opposite, for she is a mystic. Young church members come to her with intuitons, dreams and experiences which the pastors dismiss. What should she do? I encouraged her to reflect on Samuel who was both a seer and a judge. Seek to transform the soul of her country, and each individual encounter will fit into that wider purpose and make sense. Jesus did not choose people with Ph.D's as his apostles. She has her own Ph.D - Prayer, harmony, Discernment!

Now I am off to Saint Columba's Retreat Centre, Woking, for a week long Saint Columba Festival along with harpists and musicians. May you feel loved this Ascension-tide as we recall how Jesus took our humanity into the heart of God.

Posted at 11:58am on 3rd June 2011
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