We hear more and more these days from spiritual writers about developing a personal "Rule of Life" -- a thoughtful Christian approach to managing our time and balancing life and work. A Rule of Life is essentially the pledge you make to God and yourself about how you will spend your time and energy.
There is already ancient wisdom on this topic from Benedictine monasticism. St Benedict of Nursia (480 - 547 CE) is called the "Patriarch of Western Monasticism" because of the fundamental impact his monastic movement had on western culture throughout the Middle Ages. His model for a Rule of Life hinges on three things kept in balance -- prayer, work and study, lived out in community with others. St. Benedict's wisdom for our age invites us to explore how much of our life is dedicated to these three things and how much is also spent in company with others. What is our daily prayer practice? How much time is budgeted for work balanced with the other elements of life? Do we engage in work for which we might not be paid but is of service to others? How much time do we give to exploring and studying the world around us or our interior spiritual life? How much time do we spend with family or friends? Each one of us has to find the best answers to these questions for our own lives, but my guess is that many of us experience our lives as out of balance and the exploration of a Rule of Life could be, well, a life-giving discipline.
That's why we have invited Br. Dennis Gibbs to be with us this Tuesday evening at St. John's. At 6:30 p.m. we celebrate Evening Prayer together, then we'll share a light supper followed by a presentation on Benedictine spirituality. Maybe this ancient path, at the heart of our Anglican heritage, will help you develop your own Rule of Life.
How appropriate that we explore these questions during our stewardship season because a Rule of Life also invites us to examine how we spend our money. Maybe along with our financial pledge to our community of faith, we will make a pledge to keep a Rule of Life as disciples of Jesus. Do our lives reflect that identity?