I recommend walking. If you can, wherever you live or work, start to walk. And be open to the possibility of encounter… on the road we meet whatever and whomever comes our way.
Ian Adams writing on a contemporary practice of the Road in his book on new monasticism, Cave Refectory Road. One way of becoming taking the principles from the monastic friars is to walk and see what encounters you come across, and offer Christ’s peace in whatever you find.
I have been contemplating this since I read it last Friday.
On Saturday our neighbourhood we celebrated St. Crispin’s Day with a community fireworks, organised by the residents association. I went along and members of Berrywood Church offered something small to that event. As I have always in these community events, I wore my clerical collar. For one person that sparked a conversation.
This morning I decided to be pro-active about walking, and I decided to walk in my collar to the coffee shop and to introduce myself to a couple of new business owners who had just opened up. On they way I prayed that the Spirit would lead. I smiled and said hello to one passer-by (as I normally do). I bumped into on member of our baby signing classes and had a brief friendly chat. I bought a coffee and sat on the sofas for an hour, whilst I read. (Only one other person came into the shop whilst I was there). Then I went to the new children’s book and toy store, had a chat with the owner and then did the same for the new tailors shop. Both of them were very open to talk and one of them (whom I had met briefly before) even brought up the subject of spirituality. We had quite a long chat about Israel, Kibbutz’ and community.
As we start to have more organised events and groups, being in an around the community is a practice I mustn’t forget, simply being open to the possibility of encounter with others. I suppose this is what the friars of the abbeys and monasteries would do.