The MSA team has just been on a 2 day retreat. It was wonderful to get away to relax, refresh and to refocus our lives. The main purpose of the retreat was to brainstorm about developing an MSA rule of life. Here are some of our thoughts on where we are at in the process. I would appreciate any comments that you might have. We recognize that this will always be a rather fluid document that is still very much in its infancy so it will continue to change and develop over the next few months.
Why a rule of life you might ask? We sense that God’s spirit is currently speaking through many voices about the need for a more embodied, incarnational faith and we want to join in what God is doing. Developing a rule of life seems to be an important step in that process. According to the Northumbria Community, “a Rule of life expresses ‘who we are, this is our story’ and reminds us of those things God has put on our heart, and calls us back to the story that God has written as foundational.”
We began by reading excerpts from N.T. Wright’s new book Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, which I reported on in my last post.
At the core of Mustard Seed Associates is our belief in this dream of God for the redemption and restoration to wholeness of all the dimensions of life that were distorted and corrupted by the Fall. We will be redeemed within ourselves, in our relationship to God, to each other and to God’s creation. Through the redemptive work of Christ, one day together with sisters and brothers of every culture, from every age we will be made whole and live together in the love, joy and mutual concern of God’s original creation.
Because of our conviction that we are called to reflect, albeit very inadequately, the image of our loving God and to model something of God’s new world of restoration and wholeness, and because we are concerned about the growing needs in our changing world we believe God calls us in MSA to be Easter (or shalom) people, living a life that celebrates the wild hope of the resurrection and focuses on God’s redemptive work in the world. We see MSA as a network of communities of the followers of Jesus that seek to live as redemptive, celebrative people who embody something of the aspirations and values of the dream of God in both modern and post modern culture. Though everyone involved in MSA will never live in residential communities, we recognize that there is a need to foster a sense of shared spirituality and commitment in order to accomplish what God has called us to be and do.
As a result we want to encourage followers of Jesus to work towards
1. A redeemed (restored) relationship to God through
a. Regular individual prayer
b. Scripture study
c. Times of listening in solitude (meditative prayer)
d. Regular corporate worship
2. A redeemed (restored) relationship to God’s community through
a. The practice of a common life with other followers of Christ
b. Service in the broader community
c. Hospitality and celebration
d. Solidarity with the marginalized
e. Economic stewardship that encourages mutual concern
3. A redeemed relationship with our own inner being through
a. Meditation and contemplation
b. Confession of sins
c. Spiritual formation
4. A redeemed relationship with God’s creation through
a. Responsible ecological stewardship
b. Connection to the God revealed through creation