Recently, a group of friends and I received a grant that transitioned us from, well, a group of friends, to a covenant group with meetings, goals, and the expectation of learning and accountability. And here we thought it would be all free travel and wine drinking in villas in Sonoma (yeah…that was the last time we got together. It’s a rough life).
Some of it will undoubtedly be wine drinking, but we’ve also committed ourselves to creating both an individual and a communal Rule of Life. Which sounds like something I should appreciate, but has mostly felt like more tasks on the unending list that dominates my life. The rhythm of my life, as it is, is not in spiritual practices. The rhythm of my life is in meetings: Schenectady Inner City Ministry on the first Wednesday, consistory on the second Tuesday, Patty’s Place on the third Wednesday; staff prayer every Tuesday, ministry team on Wednesdays, etc. The rule of my life is The List, forever telling me the next thing that needs to be done.
I guess we all have a Rule of Life. The question is whether we’ve made it that intentionally. My lists and meetings carry me through fairly well on normal days and average, low-to-mid-stress level weeks.
But then there was last week.
Pretty much all hell broke loose, and I was traveling and thus off kilter anyway, and all the meetings and lists in the world weren’t going to give me any guidance about how to handle what was happening. What I needed was an internal rhythm to help me find a center and process the craziness, and to remind me of where my intentional values lie. I needed something like…a rule of life.
And so we begin this process of crafting and living into our Rules (or Rhythms, as some of us prefer to call them). God help me as I strive toward something deeper than meetings and lists.