We've been following along with the Lenten series put together by the brothers of SSJE. We're signed up - so we get the daily e-mails with videos and messages from the brothers. And then we gather once a week to talk about them - and to share our own journeys as we "grow a rule of life." Early on in our time together, we arrived at the reading for the evening - which I've tended to use as one of two anchors to our sessions. Tonight's reading was from H. Van Der Looy's Rule for a New Brother. [All of this is available on SSJE's website - and I commend it to you.]
It was rather long - so I decided not to read it myself - but to invite others to read sections. What happened was sort of a 'popcorn' style reading that resulted in 8 different voices reading things like, "What love is you can learn from Jesus. He is the one who has loved the most," and "Then you yourself will be changed from within, and through you God's Kingdom will break into the world," among a number of other powerful claims about our faith. And I found myself deeply moved by the sound of all these different voices reading their piece - and proclaiming Jesus Christ. This beautiful reading (both in text and in diversity of voices) led us to a hearty and full conversation about love - and about our relationships - and about what it means to follow Jesus together as a community. And through these voices tonight, God's Kingdom did break into the world - into our little world here at St. Andrew's.
This is one thing I love about the expression of our faith in the context of a congregation. Ten of us sitting in a room - each with a different life story - each with valuable experience. And together we make up the church - even as we learn together how to love better and serve better - which helps us to become the church even more.
So, tonight, after feeling rather low-energy at the outset, I give thanks for God who breaks in and makes all things new; for a God who knows how to come and tap us on the shoulder and bring us a sense of new life. And I give thanks for this place - and for the people with whom I am privileged to serve. What a wonderful adventure it is - and what a joy to share it with all of the different people that God has made.