"Cloistered in Simplicity"











The Rule of Christ the Sower

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With Saint Paul in Hebrews 12:11 we believe that the disciplined life, a rule of life as itís commonly called, is essential to Christian growth. Like a flower in a pot, some of us require the confines of the pot to enable us to put down long and deep roots. Adverse conditions can cause this kind of growth also, but for most of us it is structure, accountability and voluntary simplicity that provides the framework for our growth in the Lord. Regular prayer times, regular worship and meditation times, a regular review of spending, giving and service, along with accountability to each other in a spirit of prayer and service, make up the core of our rule.

For members of the Community of Christ the Sower, there is a two-tier Rule: The basic Rule that is common to all members, and the additions to that Rule which are specific to each individual member. The basic Rule that is common to all members is:

We pray in common once a day. Those able to do so come together in groups or as families to support and sustain one another in prayer; others use the same for of worship on their own. In the course of our daily prayer we pray for each member of the Community in turn.

Each week those who are able come together in groups to celebrate Communion. All members receive the bread and the wine. Those who are solitary religious are asked to attend church weekly and receive Holy Communion when available.

Each year in early autumn, near the first day of September, we renew our covenant before God as members of the Community: at the same service we receive new members into the Community. While it is desireable to come together as a whole community at this time, solitary religious may use the Prayer Book to renew their covenant privately.

Each year during the Christmas season we commit anew our time and resources to God's service. All members prayerfully consider beforehand their stewardship of time between prayer, work and leisure; and of money and other material resources between family, community, church, and the poor. RECONCILIATION
Each year during Lent, and at other times if it seems necessary, we have a service of reconciliation. Beforehand we find time to discern those aspects of our lives where we are not at peace with God and with other people.

Each year during the Pentecost season we reaffirm all the members of the community as ministers of Christ.

Fasting, like the biblical tithe, is something that is often no longer practiced by Christians in the west. In Matthew 6:16 our Lord himself says, "when you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do". Fasting is the making of a sacrifice, allowing ourselves to do without so that our hunger may be sharpened and our appreciation heightened. Fasting can be as simple as giving up some food product for a meal, a day or longer. The Rule of St. Benedict, for example, prohibits the consumption of meat except for those who are sick or weak.

"Silence is not a thing we make; it is something into which we enter." ~ Mother Maribel. Waiting for the Lord, and waiting in silence is an oft repeared theme throughout the Bible. The essential ingredient is this silence is that it be 'before the Lord'. Such silence allows us to open ourselves to God in a way that would otherwise be impossible. The habit of silence is also a wonderful training ground for an unruly tongue.

The second tier involves additions to the basic Rule of the Community. Many members turn to the Rule of St. Benedict to identify practices they have discerned to be of value in encouraging and challenging their spiritual growth. One way to determine which areas of our lives need more structure is to consider the following:

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Our cross is a solar cross. It has four arms of equal length that divide the circle into four parts. The four points of this equally balanced cross represent Body-Spirit and Mind-Heart. The goal in developing our own individual Rule is to seek balance between these four areas of our lives. We are to analyze with our minds and follow our hearts. We live in our bodies, but we are on a spiritual journey.

Focusing on the body to the exclusion of the spirit leads to a shallow and superficial view of ourselves and our reason for being. On the other hand, focusing on only spiritual disciplines to the exclusion of care and maintenance of the body defiles the God given gift which is the temple of the spirit.
Likewise, focusing all efforts on improving the mind, while admirable, robs us of the ability to act with our hearts. However, the actions of our hearts need to be nurtured and tempered with knowledge obtained through disciplines which improve the mind and expand knowledge. These two see-saws rock back and forth. Ultimately, our goal is to encourage and find the perfect balance between all four of these areas.

Since all of us are strong in some areas and weak in others, the Rule will vary greatly from one individual to another. Generally, however, disciplines of the body include regulate the quantity and quality of the food, prodcutive manual labor or exercise, attaining and maintaining a proper weight, thus avoiding the sin of gluttony, allowing time for adequate rest, dressing modestly, and practicing good hygiene.
Disciplines of the spirit include expanded daily prayers, weekly church attendance and/or Holy Communion, Christian meditation, personal prayer, cleanliness of speech, and charity of giving.
Disciplines of the mind include Bible study, Christian education, and continuing personal education. St. Benedict instructs the reading an edifying book in the evening.
Disciplines of the heart include social responsibility, right occupation, frugality in spending, charitable actions and "unhesitating obedience" to "superiors in all things lawful".

To our members, the Rule is a work in progress. The Rule is developed during postulancy and reviewed with each member quarterly. Most of want to be perfect and do the tasks we have challenged ourselves to do without a hitch, but, as all of us know, we are far from perfect and usually take on more that we can do successfully. It is better to do a few things well than many things badly. As a result, it is best to start with the basics and add to the Rule as the Spirit guides. For many, the basic Rule is more than enough to live out in daily life. For others, that is only a foundation to use for the support of additional personal disciplines. Again, the Rule is seeker-driven, so no two members will have identical Rules, but the basics are common to all and bind us together.

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This page last updated on 2019-oct-07

Community of Christ the Sower
Yreka, California
Rev'd Chris Enda-Luke CCS, Superior

Related Links
Anglican Church in North America
Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA)
St. Mary Magdalene's Church, Yreka
Anglican Prayer Beads ~ Anglican Rosary
Hymn Organ Accompaniment CDs

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