A habit and a habit.

(photo taken at Our Little Roses home in Honduras.)

(photo taken at Our Little Roses home in Honduras.)

The image that has stayed with me the most powerfully today came when I glanced over towards a new brother (a Benedictine monk) who had come to Church Without Walls for the first time. He was standing in his all-black habit, speaking to one of our regulars before the service. He held a small bag in one hand, while his free arm hung casually at his side. I noticed the ascending curl of smoke first, then saw the lit cigarette balanced between his thin fingers.

After the service, another friend told him: “You can see why I love this community.” He replied, “Of course you do. It’s real.”

It is a relief and a joy to find a community of faith where we each can come as we are. We are invited to be ourselves even as we grow together toward an ever-deepening understanding of our identity in the One who created us all.

I am reminded of the 12-step admonition that tells us we are only as sick as the secrets we keep. We need a community where it is okay to bare our souls, where it is okay to shine light on hidden shame and regret. We need a community that helps us feel safe to rid ourselves of the masks we have hidden behind just to get by. God makes that possible — and our job is to keep the party going.

Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5-7)

About Mother Beth Tjoflat

Episcopal priest, urban contemplative, playwright, lover of hounds, American of Chilean-Norwegian-Moravian descent. Interests include transformational ministry with the forgotten and marginalized; church planting and congregational development; 12-step spirituality; Hispanic ministry; radical hospitality, and spending time with dear friends.
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4 Responses to A habit and a habit.

  1. Betsy Free says:

    Thank you for the description of today’s happening. Church without Walls is what we should all be comfortable experiencing.I thank God every morning for the miracles that take place in that setting….a place of love and acceptance….

  2. peterjfoster says:

    I like the idea of your Church without Walls. I especially like what you said about it being okay to bear our souls and rid ourselves of the masks.. Isn’t it strange that we tend to try make ourselves look good and everything is okay. Fear of what man thinks, I guess. Great Post!

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