Day Nineteen – Words Made Flesh

: Br. James, you were an active participant in the process of rewriting the Rule, though a novice. What stands out to you as particularly significant, as utterly central, in this Rule?

Br. James Koester: Oh, that’s easy—my answer is found in the very first words of the Rule, from Chapter One: The Call of the Society (words that, in turn, are taken from the Gospel according to John):  “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, the eternal Word by whom all things were created, to become flesh and live among us.”  That’s it.  John 3:16.  Everything else flows from that, the Incarnation. And the Incarnation permeates the Rule. Yes, it’s a spiritual document, but it’s thoroughly grounded in the mystery and the pragmatism of the Incarnation, the Word made flesh.

Br. Curtis Almquist: And it’s the Incarnation that gave us the courage to name things which earlier eras of the Society simply could not, given the constraints of Victorian propriety. We name sexuality as a driving force in our life together, for instance, acknowledging without any sense of shame that we might fall in love at some point (11); we name the reality of “tension and friction” being “woven into the texture of daily life (5);” we name the challenges of sickness (46), the frustrations that can accompany old age (47), and the reality of death (48). The lived human experience is not denied; it’s given its rightful due as a means of revelation.

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