L'Abri Newsletter, August 2019
26 July 2019
Dear Sisters & Brothers,
Hot & humid summer greetings from L’Abri Fellowship along Le Chemin! Summer has now fully set in – high temperature and with it, high humidity. You would think that being nestled into the mountains along the coast of the East Sea would mean cool breezes even in the dogs days of July, but no. I’m strangely reminded of St. Louis summers as the sun beats down and the sweat beads up.
Yet, not even the highest temp’s nor the muggiest humidity can dampen the joy of fellowship emanating from sharing life together in Christ. You see, I have come to know by experience now what I had previously been told by others – that at the heart of L’Abri is prayer, hospitality and inquiry. These three values, you may call them practices, expressions of life in and through Christ are the life-blood of L’Abri.
Above all, L’Abri is a place where personal intimacy with God through quiet times of prayer and meditation upon Scripture may be cultivated. The wonders and beauty of God’s creation surround you. Whether it be by a solitary saunter to the river’s rocky banks or a vigorous trek up a nearby mountain to rest under a pavilion on its summit, God’s glorious works of creation declare His majesty and remind you of His care for even slightest sapling and smallest sparrow.
Prayer that is the very apprehension of the existence of God, here and now, and the deepening awareness of my absolute dependence upon God – this prayer seems to flow through the moments here. Could this possibly be what our brother Paul was desiring for beloved sisters and brothers when he wrote to them, “Pray without ceasing”?
While ample opportunities for spending time alone are always available, you come to look forward, though, to joining together with others for meals, not merely because each table is filled with delicious, yet simple and nourishing, foods, but even more so because you are blessed with the rich reality of hospitality in its truest, fullest sense ~ a fellowship of the table where Christ dwells.
The bride in the Song of Solomon describes this feeling as the groom calls her to the feast – “He brings me to his banqueting table and his banner over me is love.” Even though the menu may be just home-made soup and bread, the table is a festive feast of gratitude, peacefulness, and love shared in and through Christ. His presence graces each guest.
And the setting of a meal table for us, like Jesus’s disciples in Luke 14, becomes the most conducive context for open inquiry. The curious and skeptical alike would pose questions to Christ. Their answers often came in the form of further probing queries from the one who not only understood the depth of his inquirers’ thinking but also could see clearly into the heart of their actual need.
One of my recent guests began his question with an expression of apology, “I’m sorry if this question may be too personal, but . . .” Then he felt at liberty to inquire, “What do you regret most in your life?” I hope that he was encouraged as he heard my honest and forthright response recounting many mistakes (likely TMI) I had made over nearly 41 years of marriage. I regret my failures yet they testified over and over again to the genuine love of my wife and the daily sustaining grace of God’s forgiveness.
Other sorts of questions are posed ~ doubts regarding faith, confusion over doctrines, disappointment when prayers seem to go unanswered. No question is discouraged. No subject is beyond examination. We endeavor to heed Paul’s other exhortation to the Thessalonians, the one where he says, “Question, examine everything. Hold on to the good.”
So in the community of open inquiry under the authority of God’s Word, we together seek truth. Jesus promised us, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31–32) In faith, we believe that He will continue the work He has begun and bring it to completion as we daily pray, eat, and ask.
So here I am, sitting in my hermitage on this very rainy and warm summer morning, being enriched by the fellowship of my fellow followers of Jesus gathered at L’Abri who with me pray, eat, and ask. May you be drawn closer to Him who hears our prayers, comes to our table, and is the answer to our questions.
Grace & peace for this day,
L'Abri Fellowship, Yang Yang
“Growing in Christ and Proclaiming Him to Others”
Cordell Schulten stayed as a guest speaker at Korean L’Abri for five weeks this summer. He serves as a teacher at Heritage Classical Christian Academy in Fenton, Missouri. He has also served as a pastor for the English Ministry congregation at the Korean Presbyterian Church in Kirkwood, Missouri; a professor at Handong University in Pohang and Missouri Baptist University and Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri. He earned his M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Theological Seminary in 2004 and his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1986. He has also studied Theology and Culture at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Cordell and his wife, Sandy, have been married for 41 years. They have four children and five grandchildren. He is the author of Le Chemin: Wholly Following the Path of Jesus (31 August 2019) and Life Abroad @ Handong published by his students.