Sunday, November 6, 2016

Friendship, Farming and a Recommitted Life

 In the late winter of 2014 I began working for a farmer in Owen County Kentucky. I had recently moved with my family back into parents home and had been looking for work. It came at an opportune time. It would turn out that this job would change my life and steer my spiritual life in unexpected directions.

 I began to work full time by early spring as the work of farming began to increase. My employer, Todd , I began to find out was a very well read fellow and we began a wonderful friendship based around our love of history, in particular that of the British Isles, theology and farming. We differed greatly on several social and political issues and sometimes let it come between us, but never longer than a few hours. After the smoke cleared we were back to pleasant subjects. 

 It was during this time that I was out of church. I hadn't been in a church for several years and considered myself a non-denominational Christian who didn't need anyone one or any church to teach me about what the bible said. The bible was my complete authority. I found out that Todd was an Episcopalian. This was a new perspective as I had never known an Episcopalian. All I knew was that they were something like Catholics. 

 We began to have many talks about theology and spirituality. I would always appeal to scripture, Todd always to tradition and scripture. This combination of scripture and tradition intrigued me and I began to delve deep into early church history and writings. At some point he introduced me to the Book of Common Prayer, which I see looking back as the single most important moment for me as a Christian (aside from accepting Christ) that has happened to me. I began to use it for my personal prayer time which was WAY out of practice. I found it as a great anchor in scripture reading and in prayer. As time went on I became attracted to this form of liturgical Christianity that I began to discover was very much closer to the early Church than anything I had previously been a part of. 

 I soon began to seek out a church. Todd had taken me to his church several times, but due to certain theological and social issues, I just couldn't attend with him. I was so afraid of losing him as a friend over it I was literally sick to my stomach when I went to work after having visited the Anglican church in Frankfort, many of whose core members had split from his Church. I was so relieved when he said it was alright and he was just glad that I became Anglican. During this time we began to pray the Angelus at noon as often as we could and tried to close our day with prayer from the prayer books we stashed in the barn. 

 I write this mainly to say, despite our differences, my time spent in the fields of Todd's little farm in Owen County Kentucky was a pivotal time in my life. A time when I recommitted my thoughts and intentions towards Christ in a way I hadn't in a long time. The prayer book became a hand rail towards a deeper and more regular prayer life and the liturgy of the church began to form and guide me and my family in ways I could have never hoped. His part in that was no small part. For that I thank him, and I hope our friendship will continue for many years to come. 

Thank you, Todd. 

 Your friend, 

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