Restlessness

The coming week’s collect (summary prayer) in the A Prayer Book for Australia lectionary is wonderful – one of my favourites:

Creator God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless
until they find their rest in you:
teach us to offer ourselves to your service,
that here we may have your peace,
and in the world to come may see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Some of the words, and all of the sentiment, come from the writings of St Augustine (whose memorial is on Saturday!). It makes me think about, however, the settling into the presence of God of meditation and prayer – taking the restless heart and resting in God. Benedict also offers a partial antidote to restlessness: stability. Stability, it seems to me, is not just being in one place (although it may be that), but being aware of God’s call to be present in each moment, and not to flee from that which is hard, difficult, distasteful or threatening. Stability is resting in God – materially, spiritually, emotionally. It means being honest with someone, and accepting your partner or co-worker when they’re having a bad day.

The readings from Benedict’s rule for the past week have been mostly about structure and order within the community. There’s a lot there, of course, but as a person who’s called to lead and have stewardship of a group of people, I’m struck by the high demands placed upon the leader of the community by Benedict. With power comes responsibility. And the responsibility is great. There’s a tendency in much of modern management to divorce the life of the people you lead from their work-life. I think leadership is more than that – it is, indeed, a servant role. I pray that Jesus will help me learn more of what it means to be a faithful servant.

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