Being the Body of Christ
Dear Evergreen Family:
Mary Ewing Stamps, Order of Saint Benedict, leads a unique and dynamic ministry. She is the Amma (leader) of a Methodist/Benedictine Monastery called St. Brigid of Kildare Monastery. It is actually the only Methodist monastery in the world, I believe. It began as a community with walls in 1999 and has evolved into a semivirtual community that is open to anyone, no matter where one lives.
The monastery began, and is still centered, not far from Minneapolis. As the Twin Cities area has been the focal point of so much pain this past week, I want you to hear from someone rooted there who can speak with great substance.
On Friday, Stamps wrote: “As you might be aware, seventy miles to the east of my home here in Saint Joseph, fires have been raging in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The plume of smoke and ash stretched 15 miles long this morning and could be seen on satellite radar. The violence and brutality that sparked these fires is nothing new, of course. They did not begin with the killing of George Floyd; they were kindled by a pandemic that has long preceded the current virus and is as old as humankind: the universal experience of fear and hatred of those whom we consider 'the other.'
Benedictine history is not irrelevant to the times in which we live. Saint Benedict himself turned to God for guidance in a world that was awash in plague (widespread virus), famine (food insecurity), violence (warring tribes), political abuse of power (insensitive to the populace), and cultural chaos (moral degradation). It was in this very familiar sounding context that he penned this exhortation to his followers, then and now: 'Finally, never despair of the mercy of God!' (RB4.74)
The Pax Romana, built on military might and propped up by immense wealth, crumbled under its own arrogance; the Pax Benedictina, founded on Saint Benedict's vision of good zeal and essential unity, endures still. My beloved Sisters and Brothers, the world hungers for the witness we have to offer as people of prayer. It is Christ’s peace that we hold forth for the healing of the nations. Let us not yield to despair in this season but continue to work for the Reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. Remember who you are. More importantly, remember who God is—Lord of Love and Creator of us all. So pray without ceasing, work as you are called to do so, and stay close to one another and to the Word of God in Scripture. That way of being is the flame we must keep alive within us!”
Mary Ewing Stamps says it so well. Human brokenness has been with us forever. We are called to stand in a different place as people transformed by the regenerating power of the Spirit. Remember who you are. Remember who God is. Seek the Savior. Put on the garment of love. Be the Body of Christ in the world.
May God bless us all.
Your Fellow Minister in Christ,