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What does living in Vienna and following Jesus have in common?

Did you know that Vienna, Austria, is a really great place? I have never been there, but I recently saw a couple of articles that named Vienna as the best place to live. It is the worlds top city for quality of life.

Sounds like a great place to live.

You can read here “How living in Austria will change your lifestyle.” A couple of reasons are highlighted, beginning with this paragraph:

Moving to Austria seems to result in a positive shift for most people’s work-life balance. Angie Trask, who moved to Vienna from the UK a year ago, has noticed that the approach to holidays and relaxation is quite different. “Many Viennese businesses are closed during the whole of August and weekends begin for many on a Friday when work is finished early and they escape to the lakes where the air is fresher.”

Most places are closed on Sundays. You are able to get to most places by walking or on a bike. The work environment is very healthy. You are encouraged to actually take a full hour for lunch. The food is a high quality and locally grown.

Do you know what I see here in Vienna? Here in a city that is celebrated as one of the best places to live, I see a city that “controls” you. I know. You will be tempted to disagree with this. Many people would rather have a city without any limits, a city where you can do anything you want to do.

Instead, you have a city that is “controlling” your rhythm of life. Here it appears to be slowing it down, allowing you to enjoy it more. You realize you are not in control though. You eat what the season provides. You shop when the stores are open. You work. You rest.

You live a higher quality of life, even while you control less of it. I wrote about this after spending a couple of days with monks last year. Here is one paragraph from that post:

My time “hanging out” with the monks reminded me that my life truly is not my life. I am part of something “bigger” whether I acknowledge this or not. This is one reason I love our focus on Connecting People to Christ’s Love here at Barnitz and Mt. Zion. It is not the same as the seven Daily Offices. However, it does bring us into a rhythm of living that is bigger than ourselves

People living in Vienna have a rhythm of life that is not fully their own. Following Jesus brings us into a rhythm of life where we know our life is not fully our own either. Many resist this, thinking it is “controlling.” However, it is instead freeing and life giving.


Pastor Matt

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