As we move into October the summer months feel a long way behind us. The bales of hay dotted in golden fields have been gathered, the evenings are drawing in and we experience the glorious Autumnal season with beautiful changing colours of the leaves. Late September/early October are traditionally times when churches hold their harvest festivals where we give thanks to God for his wonderful creation and bountiful provision. There are various harvest services taking place and you are warmly invited to come and celebrate this festival.
As I watch with delight the changing colours of the leaves before they tumble to the ground, creating scrunchy paths of crisp leaves to walk along, it causes me to reflect on the pattern of nature gently moving from one season to the next. There is a rhythm and a pattern to nature which is clear for us to see and experience. There are times of active growing and times of rest and renewal.
We, as humans, are also part of God’s bigger picture of nature. I am sure you will recognise within your own life patterns and rhythms which emerge and develop shaping day to day life; a pattern that also has times of activity and times of rest, and when we get this balance right we will flourish and thrive. Some of our rhythms of life are borne out of habit while others are an intentional structure we put into place to help create a positive lifestyle and framework for living.
Within the Christian tradition a rhythm of life was developed in early monastic communities, the best known being the Rule of St Benedict during 6th Century. This rule of life was a practical way of responding to the love of God by following a set of guidelines creating a rhythm and pattern, and providing a flexible framework on which to build life. Jesus created a model for life that incorporated a balance of work and rest, relationships and solitude, teaching and learning and time spent with his Father. We often find it difficult to find this balance and the stresses and strains of modern life can leave us feeling exhausted, burdened and overwhelmed.
The leadership team across the churches have been looking at a rule of life that would provide an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines that would help us to love God more and to grow into maturity in our faith. Its function is not to constrain us but to help us, to not be burdensome but a framework for freedom. It is a rule that unites us in the family of God where we learn to respect and value one and all. Under the headings of prayer, rest, maturity, work, relationships and community we have produced 12 key points that we desire to willingly commit ourselves to follow. Over the coming months a booklet will be available to pick up from church as a handy guide to these 12 key points, so that together we can implement an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines into the rhythm and pattern of our everyday lives, helping us to flourish and embrace life to the full.
Jesus said ‘I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.’ (John 10:10). So, as nature moves into this new season of transformation with its glorious colours, perhaps you would like to embrace a new season and try out this rule of life allowing its rhythm and pattern to transform your life into glorious colour.
May you be richly blessed in Christ.