We live in an uncivil society. At least that's how it seems to me on most days. From our political leaders, down to the person we meet in a store, we encounter behavior not formerly tolerated, in public, or in private. Benedict lived in a time that was less civilized than ours. You would be more likely to lose your life than your temper when you ventured out in public. That was one reason Benedict instructed monks, nuns, and oblates who follow his rule to treat everyone they encounter like they were encountering Jesus. That kind of hospitality was literally life giving.
There was a second reason for Benedict's instruction, one that is just as valid today as it was in the fifth century. In the Gospel parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus makes pretty plain that the way we treat others is the way we treat Him. What would happen to our society if we all treated each other as if they were Jesus? I doubt I have to describe the changes we'd see if it happened. The results would be wonderful.
But where could it begin? I suggest it can begin in our congregations. In each moment the church is gathered, we can in everything we do, say, think, and act, treat each other like Jesus. And remember the church is gathered when two or more of you are together. That means the church is always gathered.
This type of change takes practice. It also takes the willingness to admit to one another when we feel we are hurt. I would be more than happy to facilitate such discussions if all parties agree to the discussion. It also means being ready to admit when we personally have failed to treat someone like Jesus and apologize to anyone we have offended. Then it means changing our future behavior. Benedictines call that "falling and getting up again." Presbyterians call it a daily decision to live out the promises of our Baptism. Start toward your future by treating everyone else in the church like Jesus. All of your future will flow from choosing, or not choosing, this as part of your future path.