From the Well 5/25/2017

Ephesians 4:29-5:2 (MSG) 

29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. 30 Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. 31 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. 32 Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. 1 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. 2 Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

The Benedictine nun, author, and speaker, Joan D. Chittister, told this story at a conference on the Rule of Saint Benedict:

There was a Benedictine community to whom nobody came. As the monks grew old, they became more and more disheartened because they couldn't understand why their community was not attractive to other people. Now in the woods outside the monastery there lived an old rabbi. People came from all over to talk to him about the presence of Yahweh in creation. Years went by and finally the abbot himself went in the woods, leaving word with his monks, "I have gone out to speak to the rabbi." (It was of course considered humiliating at the time that a Christian community had to go back to the synagogue to find out what was wrong with them.)

When the abbot finally found the rabbi's hut in the woods, the rabbi welcomed him with open arms as if he had known that he was coming. They put their arms around each other and had a good cry. The abbot told the rabbi that his monks were good men but they spread not fire, and the community was dying. He asked the rabbi if he had any insight into the work of Yahweh in their lives. The rabbi replied, "I have the secret and I will tell you once. You may tell the monks and then none of you is ever to repeat it to one another." The abbot declared that if they could have the secret, he was sure his monks would grow.

So the rabbi looked at him long and hard and said, "The secret is that among you, in one of you is the Messiah!" The abbot went back to the community and told his monks the secret. And lo! As they began to search for the Messiah in one another they grew, they loved, they became very strong, and very prophetic.

Chittister ended the conference with these words: "From that day on, the community saw Him in one another and flourished." Enough said. Think about it.