I just re-read my posts from Asbury and re-lived part of the experience. I continue to be grateful to God for the incredible experience.
One of the things you may have noticed is the lack of time and energy I had to spend writing (which accounts for some typos). It’s true that this week was busier than most of our weeks at Asbury, but the truth is, we couldn’t get enough. God truly met us in a powerful way.
The Scotts were great teachers and leaders, and they made our time together more than an academic experience; it truly was a time of worship and transformation.
First, Friday’s final morning session was wonderful. As I said, we planned to honor them when it was my turn to lead a review of an article. That went very well. We presented them with a basket of written blessings from each of us as well as a framed, group photo where we all signed the matting around the photo. Then we gathered around them and prayed for them. I think most, if not all of us, prayed for them individually.
Even though that took about a half-hour, I still got to lead the review of Jim Collins’ “Level 5 Leadership,” a great article, BTW.
Every day, after a student led devotion or an article review, Jim would have that student have another student to come up and pray for him or her (a personal request, NOT a ministry request — that’s hard for us ministers!). Thankfully I was prepared, though. I said, “One of my core values is lifelong learning, so I’d like for Dick (you may recall my talking about the 78 year-old guy earlier) to pray for me, that I would continue on the journey and ultimately finish well.”
The day, and the week, ended with a wonderful celebration of holy communion. Just prior to that, though, as we gathered in a circle, the Scotts went around the circle and shared briefly something they liked about each of us. That was powerful (I really need to take the time to write down what I remember Jim sharing about me, and what Molly shared about Joleen).
As we left Asbury after lunch, Joleen and I finally had some time to begin processing what took place in the previous few days. It was a good time of reflection. One thing that we realize is that God visited us. He blessed us with a great group of people to spend the week with. In fact, one of the highlights of the week was simply our prayer times as we gathered around one another, laid hands on one another, and prayed. Our times of fellowship around restaurant tables was meaningful as well. Many of these people we’ll see again in various classes, and we intend to stay in contact with the Scotts, as well.
I am also grateful for my Weselyan heritage. I left with the sense that I want to be more Wesleyan than ever before.
One last thing: the Scotts are writing a book about 10 decisions the UMC needs to make in order to experience transformation (actually, the decisions apply to every denomination). Our class got to be the main focus group for the book, and a few of us, including Joleen and myself, will be readers, who will have the opportunity to read and offer feedback and input before the book is published. I am excited about that, and what the book can (or should!) do for United Methodism!
Thanks for reading, and thanks for your prayers along the way! Feel free to post your comments below.