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What Have You Learned?

Matthew Lyon  joined Trinity in 2012. Last autumn he ventured to London to serve with the Moot Community, located in the history Guild Church of St. Mary Aldermary. Active largely with Host Café, Lyon helps support a place where sitting to pray and sitting to sip a coffee can happen in the same moment, at the same moment. You can follow him on Twitter: @matthew_lyon_


A MOOT IS an ancient Saxon council (like a vestry) which was vested with power to decide legal matters for a town or village (ergo, a “moot point”). Moot, the “new monastic” community I intern with here, takes the same posture as the first century ecclesia written about in the Epistles. For Socrates, an ecclesia was an assembly of wealthy men vested with power to decide legal matters. St. Paul subverted this when he gave ecclesial identity to the orphan, widow, slave, and others at the margins who followed the way of Jesus.

COMMUNAL LIFE CAN SHOW US each where our ego hides, and the ways in which the egos of others have mishandled and wounded us. Communal life also shows us a path to healing and vulnerability.

INTERNING AT THE CAFÉ HAS SHOWN ME myself in ways I really need to see, but which I don’t always enjoy. Hospitality is immediate, dangerous, face-to-face with reality. Most days, I finish work exhausted because of the huge task it is to rein in my fear and/or pride and be available to both customer and coworker, who are my neighbors. This means seeing and attending to those parts of me that are not so hospitable but come so naturally I don’t even realize they are there. Yet, when I am listening, it is like walking the banks of the Thames, full of shards and pieces of stories, outward signs of an invisible grace.

LITURGY IS IMPORTANT TO ME BECAUSE it is an outward sign of an inward grace—though not a grace arriving from “above” but from beside. Liturgy’s great benefit, in my reckoning, is that it calibrates us in Faith, Hope, and Love for our neighbor’s sake. Not the idea of “neighbor” but the embodied strangers in the pew beside me, or the strangeness in those I know and care about, and even those people I don’t care about.

I THINK EXPERIMENTING WITH LITURGY expresses that we are listening to our culture, context, and tradition. Tradition, from the Latin verb do, dare, “to give,” names some of the gifts of culture. I see experimentation as opening up space in our traditions for changes in context and culture (which, like us, are always in flux) to receive Faith, Hope, and Love.

MY FAVORITE FORM OF MINISTRY IS anything in which sisters and brothers gather to be loved and to love. In a world (and a nation) with so many categories of distinction, separation, and opposition, it does my soul well to be amidst a diverse crowd so given to fellowship and hospitality.

I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO RETURNING TO NEW YORK BECAUSE I sense a vocation as priest, and Trinity is the parish I have been led to. Ordination is something I have been discerning since my young years as a pastor’s kid. In terms of New York sacraments, I would also like a Gray’s Papaya hot dog or a proper slice.

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