“God is over all things, under all things; outside all; within, but not enclosed; without, but not excluded; above, but not raised up; below, but not depressed;
wholly above, presiding; wholly without, embracing; wholly within, filling.” -Hildebert of Lavardin
Because I cannot separate my faith and my understanding of my God from my passion for living gently on the earth;
Because I cannot separate my lifestyle and a hunger for justice for the poor and maginalized;
Because I cannot separate my life from those around me every day;
Because I am weak and selfish and cannot live out any of these ideals on my own;
I need to fall on the mercy of the Living God, who for some reason has sent me to Dorset, England, from Tennessee, USA. I’m still figuring out why.
I live at Hilfield Friary ( http://www.hilfieldfriary.org.uk/), an intentional community of Franciscans. Hilfield focuses on peacemaking, hospitality, and environmental stewardship. The friary is affiliated with the Church of England, Society of St. Francis. There are five brothers here and about twenty community members (women, men, and children) who work alongside them in pastoral care, hospitality, teaching on peacemaking and Christian ethics, and environmental stewardship. I mostly work on the land: in the garden, in our woodland, and with the animals. If you want to read about the pattern of a typical day at the Friary, check out my October 18 post.
Prayer undergirds life here, which I think is key in keeping this place running and flourishing. Even when I’m a half mile away on a walk, I can hear the bell for prayer, and I am reminded to make time in the day to be with God and appreciate his beautiful creation. It’s inspiring to be around so many other Christians who care about the earth, and I am constantly being challenged to think about my faith in a new way.
It can seem fairly idyllic here, but community is work. Sometimes people rub you the wrong way, and sometimes you rub them the wrong way. When all your working and cooking and living and worshiping is together, you can’t escape the actual work that is necessary for a successful, flourishing relationship. One of the many great things about community is that there are always others around to mediate and to encourage you to meet people where they are, rather than where you expect them to be.
Basically I’m living at Redwall Abbey. With more work involved in the growing of food. And less gluttony. And more religion. And God, don’t forget God.
Pax et bonum (Peace and all that is good be with you, Franciscan greeting and farewell)
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