A New Vision
a) Believing, b) Behaving, c)Belonging
Will our children have faith? This is a question posed my many seniors today because there are fewer people under 40 attending services on a regular basis. Religious services used to be shared or inherited by standing or kneeling by one’s parents and learning the practices that composed a spiritual way of life. Through time each person learning how to be Christian, reading the Bible, singing, listening to sermons, feeding hungry people, gathering used clothing for those in need, saintliness… etc. Faith was inherited and it was also a craft, joining together skills and a community. What was taught was how to be a Christian but no one shared what was significant about being this or why we should be one.
Spiritual Question 1—What is it you do in this congregation that has changed your life and the life of your church? What spiritual practices help you be alive in God and others? How intentional are you in this?
Spiritual Question 2- Why do I do it? Do you do something because you like to do it or are you imitating someone else and doing it their way? The primary why for any Christian practice is that the action, in some way, imitates Jesus. Christians do certain things seeking to imitate Jesus and Jesus’ followers who went before—not necessarily the person who arranged the flowers the same way for 30 years. Following Jesus involves encountering the same God they encountered through prayers, study and worship; imitating Jesus and the saints means enacting God’s love in the world by feeding the hungry, comforting the sorrowful, standing for the oppressed, caring for the poor, healing the sick and making peace.
Thought to consider:
How does imitation and intention influence your life as a Christian believer. The what and why of behaviour, of practice leads back to the how. What does this mean for you?
What spiritual practices are deepening your love of God and neighbour?
As you consider what you / your church does spiritually to deepen your love of God consider praying these words:
Holy One, you know us better than anyone, help us to draw closer to you in what we say and do. Open our hearts to your Spirit; reveal yourself to us and enable us to show others the depth of our love in what we do. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Diana Butler-Bass Christianity after Religion: the end of church and the birth of a new spiritual awakening. .New York Harper2012 (chapter5