Photo credit: Ryan Klinck

Photo credit: Ryan Klinck

The Rule of Life, Week 10
Andrea Lingle

We will serve God and neighbor out of gratitude for the love of God
     -From the
MWF Rule of Life

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

My family lost a baby three years ago. We have not yet healed from this grief. Sometimes I still find myself staring into the middle distance lost in a moment so large and disorienting that I have to, mentally, follow the bubbles to the surface. In the weeks following her death, I was screened for depression. “Yes, I cry every day. Yes, I feel detached. Yes, I have lost interest in my normal activities.” We decided to watch and wait. Situational depression due to grief should only last three to six months.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

We, as a society, do not know how to grieve or sit with those who grieve. We are told to buck up. You’re ok. It doesn’t hurt. Play through it. But Jesus said, those who sound the depths of sadness will find comfort.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

After my allotted three to six months, I found that I was far from equanimity. I hadn’t found solace or peace. What I had found was doubt and anger. I didn’t want God to BE because I could no longer find comfort in God, but I also found that I could not abandon my belief in the I AM. As I wandered in the greyness of grief, where my assertions and doctrines lost meaning, I discovered the power of sitting...and watching...and listening.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

We have been taught that righteousness means virtue, but another translation for dikaiosynēn, the Greek word that is translated as righteousness, is the state of being in relationship with God. Through grief I lost my definition of God, and found a connection I had not known before. This was not a system based on merit. It was a system of community. I sat in the memorial garden, I sat on my porch, I sat on my stairs, I sat at a table, and while I was sitting I found faces. The faces of grace; the faces of service. The faces of those willing to let me tell my story or sit quietly or laugh inappropriately. I found I was moving through grace, not as a avenue of virtue, but as a medium of relationship.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”

These days, I find that my heart is more tender. A step toward mercy brings tears to my eyes. A song or a hand offered in friendship is enough to capture my soul. It is the resonance of mercy that has convinced me that I am more than a collection of electromagnetic impulses. I have found gratitude for God in the community of witnesses that showed me the many faces of God.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

It is not virtue that compels me to care for my neighbor. I am not even sure I am capable of true virtue. Can we call virtue done for the sake of personal salvation virtuous? I care for my neighbor because I am thirsty for the hope my neighbor provides. I care for my neighbor because without my neighbor I cannot see God.

Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:

  • Take this week to reverse the service of the Rule of Life. Instead of seeking to serve, allow yourself to be served. In this season of Christmastide, receive the gift of the Beatitudes, and when you can see the wholeness of God, allow that fullness to be the eucharist you serve to your neighbor.

The Missional Wisdom Foundation Rule of Life

We hope you are enjoying our study of the Missional Wisdom Foundation Rule of Life. This is our last week to focus on The Rule. This way of life continually blesses us in many ways and we hope that you, our Dispersed Community, have been able to share in that blessing. If you would like a very nice, framable copy of the MWF Rule of Life, you can find several options in our Merchandise Store.