Resting and Rowing

Rowboat Winslow_Homer_-1024px wikiPerhaps last week’s post left you thinking about that age-old question: How much of our transformation is up to God and how much is our responsibility? Thinking of this in terms of a boat that is going from one shore to another, we might ask: How much should we rely on the wind to get us there? Does God just want us to be still and receive the help we need no matter how long it takes, or are there times when God wants us to pick up the oars and row?

As I live with this question, I am thankful for the values I share with others in our SoulStream community. Modern contemplative communities (e.g. Northumbria Community) and ancient ones (e.g. the Benedictines) typically share a Rule of Life which articulates what they hold true.

Here are a few of SoulStream’s values that speak to this question of sitting or rowing.

  • God constantly takes the initiative in love, expressed most profoundly in Christ.
  • We live with a receptive orientation to life rather than achievement.
  • We trust that despite all evidence to the contrary, God will accomplish God’s loving redemption toward the fulfillment of all things in Christ.

These values invite me to trust that even though it feels like my boat isn’t moving, God is still at work “fulfilling all things in Christ.” It isn’t my job to get myself to the other side. My job is to look for God’s zephyrs of wind and open my heart to them. As I do, I am reminded of Jesus’s words, that his Father loves to give good gifts to us, God’s children.

Receiving these gifts opens me to others, as this value says.

Being fully embraced in GRACE, we embody God’s loving presence at work in our world.

I am fully embraced in God’s grace! I embody God’s loving presence at work in the world! As I let these truths sink into my soul, I am inspired to pick up my oars and respond with these commitments:

  • Observe regular times of prayer and solitude to nurture our life in God’s love.
  • Attentively respond to the Spirit’s presence and action in our daily choices.
  • Act with compassion for justice and peace within the whole of creation.

Rowing and resting in Love, we are nurtured and transformed as we, in Christ, nurture and transform the world.

What values and commitments resonated with you? What would your Rule of Life look like?


‘The Rule we embrace and keep will be that of AVAILABILITY and VULNERABILITY.’ —Northumbria Community

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Love Mischief for the World

Northumbria communityNorthumbria Community is a dispersed network of people, hugely diverse, from different backgrounds, streams and edges of the Christian faith. “As Companions in Community, we are united in our desire to embrace and express an ongoing exploration into a new way for living, through a new monasticism, as Christians that offers hope in our changed and changing culture. We are A Way to express The Way and acknowledge there are many other valid expressions of the desire to follow Jesus Christ in today’s world. Our Rule of Life [expanded here] is at the heart of who we are.”

 What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
 Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Rowboat” by Winslow Homer , 1880.[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Complete list of SoulStream’s Values and Commitments here.
Matthew 7:11
St. Benedict delivering his Rule to St. Maurus and other monks of his order. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2016.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Reflections, Spiritual Direction, Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Resting and Rowing

  1. Boelle Kirby says:

    This was inspired, Esther! I so appreciate the thoughts you have been sharing along this line, and today’s breathed a “zephyr” to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Esther Hizsa says:

    Thanks Boelle. And your words to me.


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