Reflections on Faith and Community

Dear friends,

On this page, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. You can also find them on the church's YouTube Channel in the "Weekly Word" playlist. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.

Andrew S. Odom

10/03/2016 9:30 PM

A Vow of Stability

10/03/2016 9:30 PM
10/03/2016 9:30 PM

Some of you wandered for years in the desert, looking but not finding a good place to live, half-starved and parched with thirst, staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion. (Psalm 107:409)

Living in a suburb always means one thing, commuting. You may or may not commute to work, but you certainly commute to shop or to church or to seek out whatever promise that another area of the city can offer. Commuting has become a way of life that we rarely even think about anymore. The problem is that commuting affects us on a deeper level than we would like to admit. It stretches us thin throughout our week and fragments our lives to the point of breaking. We live life in pieces, scattered throughout the city, always trying to accomplish more in less time because we have further to go. The funny thing is, most of our commuting is not necessary. We can usually find whatever we need within earshot of where we live. We have been seduced, though, by the lure of a better thing in the area across town, and our communal life suffers because of it.

We may not be able to solve the commuter problem altogether. At one level, it is what it is, and this is the reality we have. One thought though is to adopt what Albert Hsu, in his book The Suburban Christian, describes as a parish mentality. Drawing on the wisdom St. Benedict used when he asked new members of his monastic communities to take a “vow of stability” rather than to wander from place to place, Hsu focuses on a five square mile radius around his home and tries to complete the majority of his activity in that area. The wisdom is that the longer you spend in a local community, the better. This isn’t meant to be a fix all, just an adjustment in perspective. The more you invest in one area, the more you will come across and get to know the same people. The more familiar the faces and the encounters and the specifics will become. The more you will trust and the less you will fear. The more you might just take notice of God in the midst of a world you once rushed by. Take a vow of stability and see what happens. Perhaps your life will feel a little more rooted and a little less scattered.

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