At the heart of a rhythm of life is the desire to know and follow the way of Christ wherever you are. For us, that’s the busy city of London, with all its many and varied challenges. For example, it is easy to see spirituality as just one part of life – as a Sunday affair. The rhythm of life, however, helps us to see God in every moment, to hear the voice of the Spirit calling us to join with whatever God is doing, wherever that might be. In that sense, it is also a call to mission, to bringing good news to broken and fragmented lives.
Living a rhythm helps us shift from being consumers of spirituality or church – spiritual tourists, to becoming partakers in the body of Christ – or pilgrims. As a fluid community with the rhythm at our centre, its also easy for others to journey with us, to belong without necessarily believing.
We have been inspired by great Saints that have gone before us, like Benedict and Francis, whose visions for Christian community are the foundation of the monastic movement. The great wanderers, Aiden and Cuthbert, are also important to us. They remind us that a life of pilgrimage towards God is also a pilgrimage with those around us, both inside and outside the cloister – we journey together not in isolation.
It would be easy to become immobilised by the enormous amount of detail that could go in to writing a rhythm of life. We have sought to avoid this danger in the belief that a rhythm of life should be exactly that, a rhythm. It is not a full concerto with a score for every instrument; it is, rather, the backbeat that marks time, that keeps everything in order and pulls us back on track when we get lost. It reminds us of the kind of music we set out to play, the type of lives we want to lead.
Simplicity is key. The kind of rhythms that work are those that are easily grasped. If easy to memorise, the rhythm will be more easily incorporated into daily life. This does not mean they are simplistic. The few words that most rhythms are reduced to are deeply symbolic, opening up and unfolding the core ideas and hopes of the community.
Most rhythms can be seen, in part, as responses to wider cultural trends. The monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience were a reaction against money, sex and power – issues that had begun to dominate the Church from the time of its alignment to the state in the fourth century, CE. Monks were those who sought to rid themselves of these temptations and choose instead a life dedicated to following Christ.
Likewise, availability and vulnerability, the two simple ‘rules’ of the Northumbria Community, are a reaction against the refusal of many to let themselves be vulnerable. Instead of hiding one’s true self and living an essentially solitary life, the Northumbria Community seek to be available to others for the purpose of listening and sharing honestly, willingly opening themselves up to the wisdom of others.
Moot’s rhythm of life can be understood as a response to consumerism, individualism, greed and the cult of celebrity. It is based on the results of an extended time of sharing conducted within the Community between 2005 and 2006; it also includes thoughts that have emerged in various meetings since then. It is a reflection both of the characteristics of Moot that we hold most dearly, and the values that we have found most important in living the Christian journey.
Our prayer, as a community, is that our rhythm would help sustain and nourish us as we seek to follow Christ into the hustle and bustle of our beloved city, London.
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