My friends and I spent the week just gone at a monastery in Leicestershire called Mount St Bernard Abbey. Many people would visit such a place to get away from the hecticness of day to day life, to seek God or to find out about the monastic lifestyle. We on the other hand went for a bible week along with 15 other young Christians from our church to grasp when, what and who the word of God is.
We all need God’s word in our lives and this monastery exists for people to seek, love and find God in all parts (and hours) of their lives. The main Abbey is a beautiful stone building made of marble on the inside, and is used by the monks and visitors in specific hours throughout the day and night to sing their way through the bible. Most people from the Bible group would spend 20-100 minutes each day meeting with God, watching a service take place or following the Psalms as they were sang out. Personally I was able to receive God’s peace and truth whilst God’s Word echoed around this huge building from reverent hearts.
The monks very generously catered for all our needs – even me being gluten free! After sessions like Jeremiah I would go over to the “Gluten Free” corner to enjoy a selection of yogurts, snacks and serials with the scent of dinner being cooked in the kitchen.
Right… on to Jesus.
Richard & Julia spent the week teaching and leading us through a series of foundational bible teachings with application for our stay there and also for our life back home.
Here is the list of sessions followed by some of my friend’s experiences and testimonies from the bible week:
- The authority of scripture and canon of scripture;
- Authenticity of ancient text and how we came to get our bible;
- The background, history and importance of the Old Testament;
- Hearing Reverend Dom Erik speak about how learning an Aramaic dialect called Syriac has helped him learn about the meaning behind the scriptures;
- The background, history and importance of the New Testament;
- Overview of the Book of Jeremiah and Paul’s letter to the Philippians;
- Father Joseph, a meek and accidentally hilarious monk, came and spoke to us about how using Lectio Divina has helped him to keep scripture fresh;
- The Trinity and various cults;
Aidan speaking now…
The session that particularly stood out to me was the overview of Philippians on Wednesday afternoon. We merged it with the session after, on “how to lead a bible study”, so we ended up studying the first chunk of the book using a new bible studying method learned from YWAM- inductive bible study. This allowed us to really deeply soak up the truth in the text without simply imposing our own ideas on it from the start. It was rich.
It was amazing to spend so much time with a group of people I don’t see often. Learning together during the day led to us relaxing and worshipping together in the evenings. We had some beautifully natural moments of worship in the lounge on a few of the evenings.
Big-up goes to Jake, Jake and Chris for leading the worship quiet enough to not get us hushed by the monks, while still loud enough for us to give it some welly. I really don’t know how we got away with being so charismatic!
Andy speaking now…
The main thing I learned from the bible week is that I know a lot less about the bible than I thought and I find that exiting because there is so much more to learn.
My favourite moment was the worship time on the wednesday evening. I felt a real unity with everyone and I felt exited about the potential of working side by side with the group for the gospel.
Just want to big up Claire who I think is an absolute legend, she brought people together with her outgoing Celtic wildness.
Josh speaking / typing now…
When Father Joseph spoke to us about scripture being fresh he took us through something called “Lectio Divina” meaning spiritual reading. It’s a process by which before, during and after reading scripture you are talking and listening to God which not only teaches us about God but about us and God’s heart for his children.
The time when I was most encouraged was on our final evening together after a worship time, lounging around bringing encouragement to Richard and Julia.
Some of the encouragement that was brought specifically for them also spoke to me about the need for us as a church need to seek God and read his word.
My shout-out goes to Rrrrichard for being solid, honest and hearty in everything he brought, both his intellectual knowledge shared and his willingness to join in with the washing up.
The Bible week will go down as one of the things that has changed our lives at Adams Avenue. Pray that we and more people continue to love Jesus. WORD.