A little while ago, I wrote a post on the Iona Community and their Rule of Life. You can find it here. My church is spending a year exploring Celtic spirituality and worship renewal. We had an author/speaker come last week and he introduced us to The Community of Aiden and Hilda (here in the States, but also the UK group).
This community’s principles resonate with me. It is a small group here in the States, but there are opportunities for conversation and community that are much closer to home. There is a FB group, they hold retreats, and lots of ways to be connected. It is also part of a larger global (UK based) group.
Since it is a dispersed group it relies on the use of a “soul friend” which is someone you choose to hold you accountable to your Rule of Life. The three principles or vows are: Simplicity, Chastity & Obedience. I’m summing these up as I currently understand them . . . I’m also praying about whether this is a good fit for me. I have my church home, my spiritual companion group, and I think this just might fill the niche of accountability in all the areas I have been wondering about. It is definitely something to continue to think and pray about.
- Simplicity is being willing to be rich or poor (as God directs) and not give in to the temptation to be greedy, possessive, or to manipulate creation and others in order to move from poor to rich or rich to poor — in other words, be content where you are and with what you have.
- Chastity is accepting the totality of our being (and others being), maintaining purity in marriage or a call to singleness. Respecting both marriage and singleness.
- Obedience is a joyful longing to follow God. It is respect for those he has placed in authority over us.
There are 10 Elements of the Way of Life:
- Study and Application . . . daily Bible reading, study the history of the Celtic church, saints and feast days, study of desert fathers and mothers — But not just an intellectual exercise, but to learn how to live.
- The Soul Friend . . . meet at least twice a year, regular retreats and pilgrimage.
- Daily rhythm of prayer, work and rest . . .daily office & prayer, engage in productive work which does not conflict with the Way of Life, and holy rest and recreation.
- Intercessory Prayer . . . “storming the gates of heaven”
- Simplicity of Lifestyle . . . live simply that others may simply live (income, savings, possessions, being a steward not a possessor), simple beauty of creation, all things ordered to liberate rather than overload and clutter the soul, times of feasting and fasting, hospitality and generosity.
- Care for creation . . . ecologically aware, pray for creation and creatures, stand against all that would violate and destroy.
- Wholeness Not Fragmentation . . . not self-sufficient and autonomous.
- Openness to the Spirit . . . “put to sea in a coracle”, learning to listen, cultivate interior silence and respond to the promptings of God, widen our horizons.
- Unity and Community. . . all fellow Christians as “pilgrims together.” cultivate a solidarity, shed attitudes and practices that divide people by class, color & creed, repent of our own part in these divisions.
- Mission . . . “The goal of the way of life is to develop a disciplined spirituality that will make us effective in our witness to Christ in the world.” “Our mission also includes speaking out for the poor, the powerless and those unjustly treated in our society, and to minister with them as God directs.”