Sachi Nakamura（JCFN Board member, Translator of Christian books, Spiritual Director)
The other day, I came across an online site about “The Monk Manifesto.” It struck a chord with me and I would like to share it with you.
The Monk Manifesto
1. I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.
2. I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.
3. I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.
4. I commit to cultivating awareness of my kinship with creation and a healthy asceticism by discerning my use of energy and things, letting go of what does not help nature to flourish.
5. I commit to bringing myself fully present to the work I do, whether paid or unpaid, holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express my gifts in the world in meaningful ways.
6. I commit to rhythms of rest and renewal through the regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures my worth by what I do.
7. I commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation, recognizing that I am always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.
There is also a video version of the Monk Manifesto, where there is an additional principle that states, “I am a dancing monk.”
When hearing the word “monk,” Protestants may think that those people are not relevant to them. However, I think that the word “monk” is used to encompass all Christians who seek to deepen their relationship with God through prayer and desire a life of retreating.
All seven of the principles in the manifesto spoke to me. However, the phrase “dancing monk” in the additional principle was especially intriguing to me. We usually associate the word “dance” with joy and celebration. Therefore, this phrase reminds us of the joy of salvation and hope for the future that the Lord has given us. Interestingly, perichoresis, a word that describes the trinity, literally means “dancing around together.” Indeed, our God is a dancing God, and we are also invited into His communal dance of internal fellowship of deep love…. Those were some of the imageries that the phrase “dancing monk” sparked in me.
Which of those seven principles did you find captivating to your heart? Did you find one of them especially challenging? Do you feel led to particularly explore one of the principles?
The Liturgical Calendar has already entered the new year. The Christian Era is about to enter the year 2019. What is God’s invitation to you for this new year?