Advent Sermon on the rules for life by The Reverend Neil Bramble-Chapman 2003
All age worship talk 07/12/03
Play games - football, cricket, rugby etc. all have rules to follow. If you do not follow rules, can’t play game properly. Some rules are easier to understand than others like in soccer, Off-side can be hard to interpret.
Robot Wars - Sir Killalot. 4 rules used to determine who has one if a match is drawn. Damage, control, style and aggression.
Monastic life - basic rules to govern their lives still used today, Rule of St. Benedict. In AD 525 he founded first Monastery and formulated a set of Rules to regulate monastic life.
Centres on Humility and Obedience to God
Provides a way of living together as a Christian Community
Presided over by Abbot, helped by Priors, Master of Novices, Almoner, Guest Master, Infirmerer, Cantor, Cellerer, Chamberlain, Sacrist and other lay-brothers and servants.
Had a strict timetable for worship, Matins at 2am through to Compline at 8pm and then bed. 8 services in total, interspersed with manual work and reading.
2 meals a day at most
even rules about Baths 5 per monk per year, dressing, sleeping, and using the Necessarium!
punishments for being late for prayers or stumbling over the recitation of a Psalm.
In Ch 7 of the Rule, - Benedict sets out the 12 degrees of the ladder to heaven.
Fear of God
Repression of self-will
submission of will to superiors
obedience in hard and difficult matters
confession of faults
acknowledge one’s worthlessness
preference of others to self
avoidance of singularity
speaking only in due season
stifling of undue laughter
repression of pride
Ch 4 - contains rules of good works to perform, starting with the 10 commandments, visiting the sick, not to be a murmerer, put trust in God, honour the aged and never despair of God’s mercy.
Our lives - set me thinking about whether we have a rule of life which we follow. Malachi in today’s reading suggests that we need to reform our lives and give Honour to God in the daily living of our lives. We need a rule of life to enable us to do this. What might help us?
the Bible offers us a guide and the Teachings of Jesus give us specific ideas about how we should live and relate with one another, love and compassion towards others.
Golden Rule "Act to others as you would have them act to you".
Rule of St. Benedict - focus on reading of the Bible, humility, putting others first, obedience to God, good works.
Finally - Use season of Advent as a time of preparation to reflect upon the rule of life you live by, think about what you might change or improve. Maybe if you have a Rule which works for you, you could suggest it to the rest of us.