Packing several energetic small people into a car, making sure that each one has what they need for school can be the kind of experience that makes you want to take the rest of the day off! We manage though because it’s all over in a few minutes. Usually :)
By contrast, how do you direct something that moves much, much slower? A tree, for example, grows too slowly for us to see it moving (and responds to verbal commands about as well as energetic small people early in the morning…). Gardeners direct the growth of a young tree by tying it to a stake; in the same way, a vine is given a particular form by using a trellis. Without a trellis, a vine would be a shapeless mess on the ground.
A trellis is a helpful metaphor when we think about directing our own lives as we too grow and mature slowly over the years. How are we to live a well-ordered life and not end up as a shapeless mess on the floor?
As we ended our Lent course on Wednesday and Thursday this last week, we spent time talking about what it means to live by a “rule of life”. The concept comes from the ancient communities of nuns and monks who recognised the need to order their lives and they wrote up and practiced a particular way of living, ensuring that their daily lives reflected the key values to which they subscribed. Their key insight for us is that it is what we do every day that determines who we become. If you're interested in finding out more, there’s lots of good content online (start with www.ruleoflife.com).
A rule of life is intended to be a gentle, enabling guide (like a trellis), not a legalistic taskmaster. When we think carefully about what matters to us, a rule helps ensure that we are caring for our spirits, bodies, minds, feelings, relationships, community. We had such animated, enthusiastic and hopeful conversations around the topic this week. I hope you have a chance to keep talking about this in your home groups and families. And dream up some trellis designs :)
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