Live your Life with an Urban Rhythm in a City

Live your Life with an Urban Rhythm in a City

Return to our Way of Life

Where we live gives shape to the rhythms of our lives. We choose to live within the chaos of the city with a monastic calm. We live our Way of Life against the rapid currents of our cities. For one to be an Urban Monastic, and not a sojourner, they must live in a city.

We are neither called to live in isolation (as an anchorite or eremitic) nor in a cloistered community. Both of these are part of the Christian monastic tradition. They have a rich history and continue to this very day. An Urban Monastic is one who lives in their city while being a part of our global community. In this way, we are a part of the cenobitic tradition. It may be helpful to imagine the boundaries of your city as the metaphorical walls of your monastery. Within these walls, you will seek the presence of God and live a life of prayer.

We live this Urban Monastic Way of Life within our cities. Where we live informs our lives, our practices, and our rhythms. Every rhythm we have in our lives takes more than time. Every rhythm is something that we do. The things we do are given shape by where we do them. Our monastic practices and rhythms are shaped by where we live and work. Living in a city is not a statement of values or superiority. For the first time, city living is now the reality for over half of humanity. Urban Monasticism makes a monastic life accessible to anyone who loves Jesus and lives in a city.

There cannot be a monastic life without the incarnation. The incarnation of Jesus, the Immanuel, vividly calls us to live in our bodies in the places we are. The body of Jesus placed Him within creation. Jesus was embodied, and the shape of his life was defined by his space and time. Every life is defined by the space and time we inhabit; we are incarnate within.

The essence of our faith transcends space and time. The practical realities of our faith are wrapped up within them. Where and when we live informs how we pray, fast, make silence, love our neighbors, and love God. When compared to a rural life, there are similarities and differences. There is no transcendent way of life. Every way of living is embodied. A way of life is only useful if it can be lived by real people in their everyday lives. Our way of life is only one of many ways someone can walk with Jesus in the city. It is a way of life that ties us to our monastic siblings and ancestors.

Christian monastic practices and rhythms transcend space and time, but Urban Monasticism has chosen to bind itself to cities. If you do not live in an urban context, you cannot fulfill this part of our way of life. This is because not living in an urban setting changes the context of your life too much. It is up to you to decide if you live in an urban context or not. This means that how you live your life is different enough from that of your urban siblings. You can participate as a sojourner, but you cannot be a monastic.

Invitations to Engage

  • Pray for our God to share the way He looks with love upon your neighborhood and way to work with you.
  • Reflect on how living in your city gives you stress and anger. Pray for God to increase your grace, forgiveness, and love for those situations.
  • If you grew up in a different context, meditate on the ways your life is different now. Ask God to show you the ways your faith and life have not adapted to where you now live.
  • Take a walk through part of your city and give God praise for every person and business you see.
  • While you live in the midst of so many, pray that Jesus would expand your capacity to love all of them.
  • As we live in more dense cities, there are more moments where we are wronged. Practice responding first with grace and forgiveness. For the Love of God forgives all things.
  • Cities are places of diversity. Contemplate the ways God invites you to be a blessing to those unlike you.
  • What does it mean to reject acts of violence in your city today?
  • The way of the cross is challenging alone, and more difficult when our life is interwoven with so many unknown others. How does God’s love for creation

Meditations on this Rule