Rhythm of Life and Mission
Our mission and calling, because of the vast and
urgent needs in the world, can wear us out quickly. Jesus, early in his
ministry, made a point of developing a rhythm which included solitude
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the
house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (Mark 1:35)
Christians of the first millennium developed what I believe to be a
healthy pattern of life and mission including three elements which were
repeated in an ongoing way:
Preparation: this included prayer, the reading of scripture, worship and communion with Christ who they loved and represented in a dangerous world. This season often included fasting and preparation for spiritual warfare. See for example the morning prayer of St. Patrick.
Mission: this season involved hazardous travel, praying for the sick, establishing monasteries, proclaiming the good news of Jesus to those had their own gods and often resisted grace strenuously. Often there was danger and hardship. These seasons required all the courage, strength and faith which could be renewed in the season of preparation.
Heaven: upon return from a mission there would be feasting, celebration, rest, expressions of joy and replenishment. The Celtic believers called this phase "heaven" because they viewed such activities as foretastes of heaven. This phase was unhurried and deeply enjoyed before returning to preparation for mission.