“Not all who wander are lost..” I was reminded of this little phrase from one of the poems Aragorn recites in “The Fellowship of the Ring.” But the context this morning was more interesting to me than the series by Tolkien.
Here in this pregnant pause – finished one assignment and wondering about the next – I look back on nearly fifty-five years of life and learning. The context this morning was the Kelowna Theology Cafe, founded by myself and two others around three years ago. What a gift to join with other pilgrims and reflect together on the journey! What a gift to find ourselves in this liminal place and have time, freedom, and energy to reflect on the path that has brought us this far, and then hold our lives before our Creator and gently muse about the next phase.
I searched back on my blog under “cafe” and found this post from 2009, a post that echoes many of the themes from the conversation this morning.
The Grower of Trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
That the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
Like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
Descending in the dark.
Some years ago Paul at Prodigal Kiwis quoted from a paper on the emptiness of our times:
“In Modern Man in Search of a Soul, Carl Jung indicated in many places that he takes a more spiritual approach to the healing of the psyche (psychotherapy) than do most contemporary psychologists. His understanding of neurosis is informative:
“A psychoneurosis must be understood as the suffering of a human being who has not discovered what life means for [one] self … It arises from … having no love, but only sexuality; no faith, because [one] is afraid to grope in the dark; no hope, because [one] is disillusioned by the world and by life; and no understanding because one has failed to read the meaning of [one’s] own existence.”
Powerful words, pregnant with life and meaning!
This morning at the cafe David talked about the next stage of his journey – next Saturday he flies to Spain to walk the Camino . If it happens that you have seen “The Way” then you know something of this story already.
How do those who wander find roots? A different question, but perhaps it gets to the core — How do those who wander find a belonging to a people? Somehow our rootedness must become internal, a home we carry with us. How do we carry others with us? We carry them in our hearts. This should express a social and relational reality, but more: it expresses a covenant. A covenant is first relational, and then practical. It defines a shared practice, and disciplines of resistance and engagement. These practices and covenant are independent of denominational traditions, therefore a missional order in some ways transcends denominational distinctions. That’s important, because our next assignment, like the last one, will not likely be in the same tradition. Therefore, who are our people?
This is the connection we can make to a dispersed “missional order.” My own interest in such orders and in a rule of life has been on hold for the past two years, but at this stage in my journey, and before turning the page to the next chapter, I find my interest renewed. Through a friend (thanks Pat!) I am again exploring one particular community and their way of life — the Community of Aidan and Hilda. Their website describes something of their shared life:
The Community of Aidan and Hilda is a world-wide fellowship whose members seek to live out Christianity as a complete way of life. Being wholly available to the Holy Trinity and to the way of Jesus as revealed to us in the Bible, we seek to cradle a spirituality for today:
o weaving together the separated strands of Christianity
o healing the land
o resourcing people
The Community of Aidan and Hilda’s Way of Life is described with three “Live-Giving Principles” and ten Elements of the Way. The Live-Giving Principles are simplicity, purity and obedience. These are general forms of the traditional monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. But there is a fourth element at the heart of their covenant.
Each member of the Community of Aidan and Hilda must have an anamchara or soul-friend to help them to apply the Way of Life in their own circumstances. Anamcharas are similar to spiritual directors in that they practice friendship and mentoring by listening for the voice of God in a person’s life, but whereas the spiritual director/directee role is hierarchical, the anamchara is closer to a peer relationship. The soul-friend dynamic is found throughout the literature of Celtic spirituality, and of the three communities that we interacted with, the Community of Aidan and Hilda was the most specific about its use in their community life.
For the ten Elements go HERE.