The Rule of Northumbria as I will call it, has many things I like. Let me begin with its beginning. "This is the Rule we will keep: we say YES to AVAILABILITY; we say YES to VULNERABILITY" The rule goes on to define this more generally and then it allows for room to express what practices the community determines are necessary to keep the rule. But it is simple and straightforward.
We say YES to AVAILABILITY. Yes. This is certainly the touchstone of the incarnation of the Word of God in Jesus Christ. God made himself available to humankind. What is Peterson's translation in The Message of John 1 - "The Word became flesh and moved into our neighborhood." This is what it means to be incarnational, to be available - physically present and accessible. This is one of the challenges I have to the multi-church concept that would throw a video up instead of a real preacher. Jesus was really present as we must make ourselves to others.
What does this look like? A friend told me this story. She had a medical procedure that was rather invasive. Though she had spent some time in the hospital it seems that early release is the norm not the exception. In her case she came home a little early. Her first night at home she had complications. She lived alone. The woman who had brought her home had sincerely but somewhat casually said, "If you have any problems, call me." That night she was suffering, she called her friend in the wee hours of the morning. It was not a far drive to get her and take her to the hospital, but it wasn't convenient either. The friend did it. The friend stayed, helped, drove home. The friend not only said she was available, but in practice was there for her. This is availability. Being there. If you are not present you are not available.
Ministry has an element of presence, of availability. Good theology generates good practice. It is the fruit of belief. How is the fruit of your tree? Are you available to those God cares about? Are you available to the One who cares for you? Woody Allen is appropriately paraphrased here, "80% of life is just showing up."
Next up: Vulnerability.