Saturday, December 20, 2008

Solstice Simplicity

Tomorrow is the winter solstice and in our neighborhood all is quiet and white. Beneath the surface though, new life is germinating. A few days ago we received an eMail from the Association of Vineyard Churches officially welcoming us as a Vineyard church plant.

Rather than getting caught up in busyness and trying to somehow make things happen, now is an excellent time for us to pause. Resting quietly, we can consider our roots. Our good friend and coach Dave recently sent us a quote by Thomas Merton which served as a wonderful reminder to us of what we're here to accomplish or, better put; who we're trying to become.

Merton had aspirations to move near the Ecuadorian capital of Quito to start a new community. In a letter dated July 1958, he said
I would like to embark on a new form of monastic life, a very simple kind of life...fully integrated in the life of the region, and in the soil, yet also fully in contact with the intellectual life of the Capital.

I would not carry on any special “work” or “apostolate”* (this is where the mistake is generally made by so many). I would not have any arguments to sell to anybody: I would not try to “catch” people and make them go to confession, etc. Preferably I would not even dress as a priest or as a monk, but as an ordinary person. I would live a life of prayer, of thought, of study, with manual labor, and writing, a life not only in contact with God in contemplation but also fully in contact with all the intellectual, artistic, political movements of the time and place. But I would not intrude into the life of the place as one with a “mission” or a “message”; I would not try to sell anybody anything. My function would be (as it must be in any case) to be a man of God, a man belonging to Christ, in simplicity, to be the friend of all those who are interested in spiritual things, whether of art, or prayer, or anything valid, simply to be their friend, to be someone who could speak to them and to whom they could speak, to encourage one another, etc.

Thomas Merton: A life in Letters (p. 28)
We're settled in and watching the snow fall; resting quietly and reflecting. What a wonderful time.

~ Keith

* "apostolate" is the Catholic term for a "church plant"

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