Monday, February 18, 2013

Physical Spirituality

It's been a busy week for me. I had the privilege of spending Friday evening and all day Saturday with an awesome group of teenagers and college students from West Chester Church of the Nazarene. Then, early Sunday morning, I enjoyed a wonderful drive through South Jersey, from the retreat in Ocean City to Rising Sun Church of the Nazarene in Maryland where I had the opportunity to preach.

I didn't plan on the themes of these events dovetailing together, but they did. I suspect it's a subconscious effect of my current fascination with how our practices form us as people. At the youth retreat, we walked through God's plan of resurrection and redemption, talking about the hope and joy we have in God's continued creation in setting the world right. The final talk I gave began to deal with the ways in which we become the kind of people God can use in this mission of redemption. The Sunday sermon ended up in about the same place - with an emphasis on fasting, during this season of Lent.

Then I arrived home today and listened to the sermon from Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene and pastor Scott Daniels. This is a practice I try to maintain weekly - and he was preaching from an entirely different passage in the midst of a series on the core of our faith. However, he ended up in the same place. The things we do shape who we are - our practice, our physical action, have the most profound effect on who we become.

The things we do make us who we are. The things we believe only matter if we embody them in practice. An embodied gospel. That is the challenge I've been undertaking and avoiding in recent years. Undertaking because I believe it true; I believe my purpose on the is planet is to live into reality, into God's intended once and future way of life for creation. Avoiding because, well, it's dang hard.

I've always been an analyzer - I'm always asking why. I can be pretty stubborn if I don't see a good reason to do something. "We've always done it" or "everybody does it," are not going to help your case.

Why? Because what we do matters. Every little thing reinforces something within us.

I'm amazed how drastically, over time, a few little things have so damaged my discipline. There are so many things in my life I do without thinking. I am grateful for the practice of fasting - and for the season of Lent to show how much I need it the rest of the year.

Good intentions and right belief - even the best analyzed and thought out beliefs - don't mean much if you don't follow through.

1 comment:

Hans Deventer said...

"The things we believe only matter if we embody them in practice."

In fact, the only things we do believe, are those we embody in practice.