On Friday I left the parsonage at 4:30 AM to meet my best friend in Massachusetts. We met at one of our favorite places—Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, MA. The Abbey is run by a small community of Benedictine Monks. Part of The Rule of St. Benedict is opening your doors wide to guests. When Emilia and I went on a retreat at the Abbey one February years ago we happened to be the only two “retreatants” at the time. So for several days on that visit we prayed with the monks five times a day, observed the two periods of silence, and ate lunch and dinner with them in their private dining room. It was a wonderful experience, and the Abbey has been a sacred place for me ever since.
Part of what’s comforting is the rhythm of the day and keeping of tradition. St. Benedict is considered the Father of Western Monasticism and died in 550 C.E.—the monks have been keeping to The Rule ever since he came up with this way for monks to live together in community. Hospitality is a central tenant of their way of life. When one walks into worship at the Abbey (even if you arrive a minute or two late as I didn’t fully factor in Boston morning rush-hour traffic from the South Shore!), one of the monks will come over to you. He’ll smile and whisper, “Welcome”, help you be sure you’re on the right page of the worship book, and give any instructions. It’s intentional hospitality that characterizes how the Benedictines are everyday of their lives. For to welcome one another in the name of Christ is to welcome Jesus himself.
In these turbulent times, when we may struggle with what we see and hear in the news, when we may feel afraid or angry or numb or any other emotion, moments of being grounded in God help. Moments of feeling welcomed by another help. That groundedness can give us the strength, courage, and hope to keep walking in the Way of Christ. My deep hope is that we provide those moments at CFC—whether that’s in worship or Sunday School on Sunday mornings or Bible Study or fellowship opportunities for people of all ages or ministry meetings or mission work we do outside our walls. Because being grounded in God and keeping God at the center of our lives doesn’t make this world or our lives perfect all of a sudden. Though it does help us to be our best selves and respond to those around us with loving-kindness.
(This Week’s Thoughts 10.12.17)