I haven't written for a while. I preached tonight at church, so my focus was on that. We're also leaving in the morning for a camping trip (the first of two this week). It's our first "vacation" with other people (other than family members). There's a handful of friends we could envision spending a week vacation with (let alone a family who would be willing to camp and go at our level of affordability for vacationing). So we're thankful for friends we don't have to feel anxious about spending several days with--and who have kids ours can spend all that time with as well. We're coming back in time to wash clothes and re-pack for a camping trip with my family next weekend.

In the midst of all the preparations, I was focusing on a sermon on stability. I talked about how stability, biblically speaking, isn't so much about "balance" in life. (My friend and former boss Joel Rude used the following imagery often, so he gets credit for the balancing analogy.) If you imagine a see-saw with the fulcrum in the center, we often imagine life that way--a balancing act. You need to have the same amount of mass on each side. If you add more mass to one side, you need to balance out the other side or shift the fulcrum closer to the side with more mass. We can talk about God being the fulcrum that we need to center our lives on, and this is all good imagery. But we all know how difficult it is to keep life balanced--especially if unexpected things come our way.

I talked about how our issue is that the fulcrum only touches one small point. If we widen it, eventually spanning the entire width, then it becomes a foundation instead of a fulcrum. And whatever gets added to our lives--whatever storms come our way--we can handle it without getting out of balance. If we claim to have God as Lord of our life, then He should be in contact with our whole life anyway--not just one small juncture.

Stability is a central part of St. Benedict's Rule. When a new monk is formally admitted into the community, he takes vows. "When he is to be received, he comes before the whole community in the oratory and promises stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience" (RB 58:17). Stability is rooted in place (the monastery--for us, our church and neighborhood), obedience to God and community (intentionally inviting our faith community into our lives). Our foundation is strengthened when we practice our faith disciplines: following the rhythms of the church (liturgical calendar), praying the hours, investing in our small groups (chapter houses in our church), etc.

That foundation helps us weather the storms of life. We do not need to run when the tough times come. We can stand firm, knowing that God is with us and He is steadfast.

And so, in the midst of a hectic week, we can have stability. And it'll be nice to take part of our community with us on vacation.

No comments: