The Pastor’s Offering: Why Benedict?
As always the season of Lent is a rich time to deepen our spiritual understanding and how we practice our faith as we seek to follow in the countercultural path of Jesus.
This year, we are taking time to glean wisdom from the Benedictines—a spirituality that is rooted in the “rule” or the guiding principles and practices of St. Benedict.Why Benedict? Benedict lived in the 6th century at a time very much like our own. According to Sr. Joan Chittister, the Roman Empire was in decline: the economy was deteriorating, the helpless were being devoured by the warlike, the rich lived on the backs of the poor, the powerful few made decisions that profited them but plunged the powerless many into continual chaos, the empire expended more and more of its resources on militarism.
Incensed by injustice of the Roman Empire, Benedict left his studies in Rome to find solitude in a cave on a hillside outside the city. There he meditated on the countercultural path of Jesus and this led him to write a set of guiding principles. These principles have stood the test of time and have been adapted from age to age and culture to culture.
Benedictine wisdom is practical and down to earth. It does not invite an escape from the realities of our lives and the world around us. Instead it offers us an invitation to deepen our spirituality by listening with the ear of the heart, that is listening more deeply to ourselves and to the people around us, to creation and to the world around us. By doing this, we can better hear the voice of the Divine and we find the courage to act in the countercultural ways that the gospel challenges us to.
One of the ways our worship services will be different is that I will share a short reflection but I will not be preaching a sermon. Instead, you will have the opportunity to meditate on the scripture yourself using an ancient monastic practice called Lectio Divina. This practice invites you to listen for what the scripture story is saying to you and for your life and practice. There will be extended times of silence and an opportunity to participate in a walking mediation or journal. On some Sundays we will have a congregational conversation and dialogue. On others you will be invited to talk with another person.
If you have missed a week or if you would like to reflect further, I will be sharing my pastor’s notes as well as links for further reflection on the topics of each week. The updated document will be made available in Tidings each week and there will be a few hard copies in the Narthex. Here is the Worship Series Companion Guide for last Sunday.
I look forward to continuing our journey. See below for our past and upcoming worship themes.