Speaking at the Commissioning of the new Community Bishop Richard mentioned his joy that the Community was going in to its fourth year.
And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Bishop Richard said:
“Today we as we celebrate the commissioning of the Holywell Community we remember our life in Christ. As Paul says we are adopted children – because there is only one natural son – Jesus. But through God’s generous love we have also become sons and daughters. Jesus is our Lord and also our brother. A reminder that at the core of the Christian life is relationship. Not of blood, but of the spirit.
The joy of the Holywell Community is its intention to live out the Christian way as brothers and sisters in Christ The rule they follow may be Benedictine but the spirit will be found practically in family life, the household of faith.
I am overjoyed that the community is entering into another year of commitment. There have been testing times – aren’t there always? But through it has shone the strength of belonging together as brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a strength founded in actual love, the grounded love of God who has committed himself to us.
One of the disappointments of the church is that it does not always demonstrate this incarnational love. We can easily live with idealism and theological supposition – which can easily be accepted or discarded, but it is only in the transforming of a human being – becoming a brother, a sister in Christ that we see the truth of God’s love in action.
Throwing young people together, to pray, worship, eat and live together is a way of testing the truth! It could be like Big Brother – an experiment in life together; the difference, this is real and the test is to see the transformation that can be revealed. Benedict called it the school in the Lord’s service. The Holywell community are taking seriously their adoption and it’s implications.
Which also leads to the question – what is the purpose of the community in relation to the congregations in Abergavenny? How do we explore together, as the wider faith community, the vocation of our life together as adopted brothers and sisters?
What characterises our life together is holiness. Not in the rather exclusive way of being set apart. Rather, the opposite, being throughly involved with each other and God’s world. Holiness is not a dead, pale, attribute – it is totally life giving and transforming. Today we celebrate Holy Mary. Mary’s exclusivity, as the mother of Jesus, makes her inclusive for all. She is mother, disciple extraordinaire, whose gift of unconditional love is for all and also as a vibrant model of holiness.
So the Holywell Community, as it lives out the rule of Benedict, works in the Lord’s service which is found in good works but also in the shining of holiness. Now the members of the community, past and present, would not easily be described as holy in the old fashioned way: I could not see any them as saintly! And that’s great! Because God doesn’t want us to be saintly, he wants us to be saints, dwelling in his love and being beacons of that love. The test should be – is my view of life, my experience of life, better because of being with other Holy people? That’s what we work towards, not by striving, but on the contrary relaxing and letting God work. It’s good to remind ourselves that you don’t have to work at being a brother or a sister, you just are. And at is best, that how we can be. So to the members of the Holywell Community, to all of us here, brothers and sisters in Christ, live well, live holy lives so God delights in his family and continues to bless us with his goodness.