Means of Grace: Examen in the Wesleyan Tradition

 

Examen in the Wesleyan Tradition - Episode No. 78

As we begin 2022, Bishop Ken Carter offers a spiritual practice for the new year. This Examen in the Wesleyan Tradition walks listeners through a prayerful review of their day, rooted in our tradition as followers of Jesus in the Wesleyan Tradition. We hope this prayer meditation helps you center yourself in grace, repentance, confession, faith and love in this new year.
 
Bishop Carter began work on this practice in 2019 and has shared it in a number of contexts, including the Florida Conference Table, the Pre-Conference Briefing and in his book God Will Make A Way: Spiritual Life and Leadership in a Contested Season. You can find a written version below. Bishop Carter encourages us to use this practice and adapt it to make it our own in this season of ministry.


An Examen in the Wesleyan Tradition

Grace

I begin today by claiming my identity as one who is created in the image of God. 
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am of sacred worth and am uniquely gifted. 
When I come to myself—the truth of who I am—I experience blessing.

I reflect on those persons who have been a part of my life today,
who have seen this in me, who have encouraged me. 
Have I really been attentive to them? 
Have I fully accepted their gifts?

I stay with these encounters for a moment.
I see the faces of these persons and listen to their voices again.


Repentance

Next, I see the moments of my day that I regret.  
I rely upon the fruit of the Holy Spirit, especially love, peace, and patience,
for help in returning to these moments. 
This is uncomfortable.
And yet repentance that is of God is a return to the love God wants for me. 
It is the journey home. 

For a moment, I consider the ways I am stuck or lost. 
Why do I resist change?
I ask for the courage to return to God. 


Confession

As I reflect on the day,
I ask God to reveal the harm that I have done to others
and the harm I have done to myself.
I make an honest assessment of my failures and mistakes.
Where I have not loved my neighbor as myself, I confess that I have sinned. 

What is the sin that separates me from those closest to me?  
How does arrogance,  judgmentalism, ego or privilege distort the way I see others? 
How have I buried my birthright gifts and refused to enjoy and share them?


Faith

I ask for the gift of God’s healing and renewing grace. 
I set aside my own claims of righteousness or merit.
In faith, I say yes to Jesus Christ, who loves me and gave himself for me.
I place my trust in Jesus Christ alone for the gift of salvation.  

And for a moment, I consider how I am actually living by faith. 
Do I find it difficult to trust? 

I return to the good news that I embraced when I first began to walk with Jesus. 
I ask that God would empower me to live this day in faith. 

Love

God has created me.  
God knows me.  
God’s sacrificial love in the crucified Jesus is for my salvation. 
When I have received the gift of faith, I become a more loving person. 
And when I have placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ,
I become a part of his body, which is the church.  

I boldly ask that I will be made perfect in love in this life—
that I will love God,
and love the people I encounter each day in God. 

I ask that my love for God would grow as I read the scriptures,
spend time in prayer and receive communion as often as possible.  

I ask God to give me a greater love for others,
especially those to whom I have made promises and covenants,
and those with whom I have differences. 

I ask God for the happiness that is taking the daily risk of living in grace,
practicing repentance and confession,
and growing in a faith that expresses itself through love.   

Amen.



Show Notes - Episode No. 78

Learn more about Bishop Ken Carter.
Download the transcript from this episode.
 

Resources for Vital Congregations

 

CHURCH LEADERSHIP

Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources

eLEAD

Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians

DISCIPLE FORMATION:

Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations

WESLEYAN STUDIES:

Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology

REACHING PEOPLE:

Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging

RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:

Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children

GRANTS:

The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment

OTHER:

The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
 
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

 
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at hfleming@wnccumc.net.
 

 

  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.