Sunday, April 27, 2015
The Abbey of Gethsemani
Every Sunday the monks have a special service before their last prayer, Compline. This service is called Benediction. Catholics believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation. That is they believe that the communion bread and wine literally become the Body and Blood of Christ. Baptists believe that the bread and juice are symbols of Christ’s Body and Blood. Because they beleive that Christ is presence in the Host (the elements for communion) they adore it. They kneel before the Host as if it were Jesus. Benediction is a very moving service. It is also very worshipful. We may not have the same theology but wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Baptists on their knees adoring Christ?
At Benediction, the Priest blesses the Host with incense. I watched the incense rising in the Abbey Church. This visible cloud of smoke with it’s sweet fragrance reminded me of heaven. For the Bible tells us in Revelation 8:4:
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints rose before God from the hand of the angel.
Everything about the Abbey of Gethseamni points you to God. Everything is designed to invite you to pray. As I watched the incense rising, I thought of all the prayers that have been offered in this place. Surely it is a sweet fragrance before the Throne of God.
I count it all joy,