Turns out there is a big difference between a middle-aged rock star and a  “Middle Ages” rock star. 

Middle-Aged Rock Star Alice Cooper  

When I googled “Middle Ages Rock Star,” pictures of Alice Cooper came up. (If  you’re not old enough to know that Alice Cooper is not a woman, I apologize for  the ancient reference.) In addition to Alice, there seems to be quite a gaggle of  men who also still long to be a middle-aged rock star. Perhaps most of them??  Maybe some reading this right now!!! But I doubt there are many who long to be  a “Middle Ages Rock Star” — which is what this article is about. 

Peter Funk is the Prior of the Monastery of the Holy Cross in south Chicago. He  created and has led the growth spurt of this little patch of the Kingdom of God  right here in the midst of some of Chicago’s most notorious neighborhoods. As  a frequent guest at the monastery, I have had the privilege of participating in 

worship with Peter, eating meals together (in silence!), and watching him  blossom as man of God right before my very eyes. It’s as if Prior Peter Funk is  doing exactly what God wants him to be doing … and one can tell. 

But this evening, as my son Jackson and I sat through the 5:15pm Vespers  service and the 7:15pm Compline service at the Monastery of the Holy Cross, the  thought struck me that beyond the great spiritual success that Peter’s life has  become, he would’ve been a huge “rock star” in the Middle Ages. That would’ve  been sometime between the Fall of Rome in the 5th century and the fall of  Constantinople in the 15th century.  

Why would I say that? When I think of the gifts and talents of Prior Funk and how  he has given all he has for the glory of God, I can see that those very gifts and  talents were exactly what the culture of the Middle Ages valued, and honored.  Think about it: 

Peter is, first and foremost, a devout man of God. God is the beginning and  the ending of all his days, and is the perfect center of his life. The Middle  Ages valued those gifts. 

Peter is a world-class vocalist of hymns and psalms, and can sing a “call and-response” prayer on par with any contemporary rap singers of today.  The Middle Ages valued those gifts. 

Peter sits as the keeper of the souls of all the men who have entered the  monastery under his care. He knows that God will hold him, not the other  men, accountable for their spiritual purity. The Middle Ages valued and  honored those gifts. 

And blessed with all that, God also gave Peter that tall, dark and ruggedly  handsome look that any culture admires.  

Likely Middle Ages Rock Star Peter Funk  

One of my favorite things on earth is to see people who seem to be doing exactly  what God created them for. In my mind, at this time in history, there is no place  else that Peter Funk should be other than this monastery on the south side of 

Chicago, leading these men and this community (and sometimes some visitors  from faraway places like me and Jackson) just a little bit closer to God every  single day. No, there’s no rock star fame for him, but there is something even  better than what anything in the world could give him.  

When I’m in that old church cathedral they use for their prayer services and  residences, watching and listening to Prior Peter, I can literally feel the living  presence of God in my very being. That’s a feeling I yearn for all the time.  Tonight, after Compline, when Peter sprinkled holy water on me and Jackson, I  couldn’t imagine a better experience to have with my son at this time in both our  lives. 

We’re both rock music fans, and Jackson and I have taken each other to many  concerts of our favorite acts; But Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young  aside, that water sprinkling performance of Prior Peter tonight after  Compline goes right to the top of my rock-star favorites list. Thank you Jesus! 

But the real question this article poses is what does this mean for us. Having  heard so many times that one can be anything one wants to be in America, I  suppose that if you want to be a rock star, it’s out there waiting for you. But, if  you want to be an eternally shining star for God in this very culture right now,  then that requires a whole different commitment; A devotion to God like the one  Peter Funk has lived by. 

Monks today do pretty much the same things they did in the Middle Ages. They  pray with each other and chant the Psalms 7 times a day — from 3:30am to  7:15pm. Each and every day. That’s devotion! They also read and study the Bible  and other spiritual writings each and every day. And that’s devotion too! And,  like us, they work every day. They cook and clean and fix and repair and sew and  cut hair … and at this monastery, they even run a little bed and breakfast for  tourists in Chicago. Almost every monastery today has some vocational work  activity that helps pay the bills. 

Does that sound a little bit like your life? OK … but work with me here  … shouldn’t it? We always get caught between trying to be a “rock star” in our  worldly jobs and endeavors, and giving God the time and commitment that we  would like to. 

The truth is, we almost always make the biggest commitments in our lives to the  worldly stuff. But as good as we get at it, there always seems to be something  missing for us to have the inner peace and deep contentment that we so desire  in our lives. Something is still missing.

Maybe Peter Funk has it right. What if we took all the things we do that fill our  lives each day, and we turned them into modern forms of prayer, study, and  vocation. Actually, it’s not as hard or outlandish as you might think. For  example: 

The relationships in your life today, from family members and beloved  friends to the strangers you meet on the street each day, are your most  compelling opportunities for prayer. 

The information and entertainment that we choose to fill our heads with  can just as easily be opportunities to reflect upon and study the ways of  God in the world and to see how God is working each day. 

And then there is our work. As someone very close to our church reminded  me on one of my shadowy days — perhaps the toughest and least desirable  parts of our work are the opportunities that God gives us to show God that  we, too, are willing to make sacrifices and endure hardships as part of our  commitment to God. 

This is what I know today. When I was younger, being a rock star was one of  several options for the direction I wanted my life to go. But when I “grew up,” I  knew that the only audience I was created to serve was God and God’s great  cloud of witnesses. And it’s the same for all of us. I guess being a rock star  would be pretty cool, but being a middle-aged mangy and dirty sheepdog is the  best life there is. Just ask Peter Funk … he’s one too! 

Livin’ the life God gave me, I am … 

Pastor Bob <><