Following the Celtic Christians, how might we craft a Rule? First, a reminder of Scripture, highlighting key points:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (The Message: Romans 12:1-2)
Pray and contemplate before drafting a framework for life. Aspire big, but start with what is manageable.
A Rule can be for an individual, family or full church community. Consider what is happening in our church right now for we have definite signs of a Rule – a trellis – being identified and established to support and enable us in our journey with Jesus. We have been calling this ‘Thy Kingdom Come.’ It should encourage us in the every-day aspects of life so the big decisions have a reference point.
The Rule need not be complex – the Northumbria Community’s Rule is ‘Availability and Vulnerability.’ Our church family’s aim is to build each other up in Jesus and lead others to Jesus, so what are our building blocks?
- Prayer: Remember lorica (armour) and caim (encircling) prayers. Pray for ourselves and others, for our church and our plans. Pray constantly.
- Fellowship: We are called to serve others. Do not just make room at your table, but make room in your heart. Be together.
- People: Be real for each other; Anam Cara for those to whom you are called – soul friend first; advisor second. Be family.
- Mission: What does God want us to do to reflect the light of Jesus and not hide it under a bushel? Godly purpose.
- Discipleship: How do we develop others and grow closer to Jesus. Live so others can learn. Be the example.
- Worship & Teaching: We are church family. Worship. Read the Bible. Share insights. Take in; give out.
- Buildings: How can we turn our buildings from stone structures to Thin Places, open and relevant? God’s home.
There is a gap between each bullet point and they are part of the Rule. They denote rest which is not just something for when we are too exhausted to function. Rest is part of life, not a reaction to it. I do not think that God sometimes cannot get out of bed and just needs some “me time” (or is that “I AM time”?), but still He incorporated rest into His own activities:
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:2-3)
Then add the detail. For example, how regularly to pray and in what setting? Be deliberate and accountable as you craft building blocks into your every day. Discuss!
[from Timothy Pitt]