Although it seems like we just finished celebrating Christ’s birth, the season of Lent is around the corner. Lent calls us to explore a deeper faith life with God, one another and the world. Making room for a deeper, richer faith life is like making room for a new piece of furniture. We move the items already in a room around, shifting some things and removing others, until the room functions in new ways. The room as it was may have worked well, but that new item creates an opening to think about the room differently and even use it in new ways. Likewise, as we make room for a Christian practice, our lives open up in new ways, and we can see new possibilities to know God and live our faith.
What are Christian practices? Craig Dykstra writes on practicingourfaith.org, “Christian practices are not activities we do to make something spiritual happen in our lives. Nor are they duties we undertake to be obedient to God. Rather, they are patterns of communal action that create openings in our lives where the grace, mercy, and presence of God may be made known to us. They are places where the power of God is experienced. In the end, these are not ultimately our practices but forms of participation in the practice of God.”
During the seasons of Lent and Easter, we will use the book Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People to explore twelve Christian practices which, when we make room for them, can deepen our faith and experience of God in our lives and ministry. They are not intended to be burdensome, nor will we be able to do every one of them all the time. Instead, this is an opportunity to learn about different practices, try them out, make room for them in our homes (our lives) and use one or two (or more) to open up in new ways the faith we already practice.
How might we participate in the work (the practice) of God in new and richer ways? What could open up for us as we make room for a practice and arrange our lives around it? I hope you will join this journey of learning and growing, searching and finding God in the practice of faith. Each week, we will emphasize a practice in worship and then explore it further in weekly discussion groups, a Wednesday night contemplative service, online descriptions of the practices and practical ways to try them out. If you would like to read along with us, books will be available in the church office and on Sunday mornings before and after worship as well as online in e-book form. Donations toward the cost of the books are greatly appreciated.
I pray you will know God in new ways on this journey so that you may live your faith in the everyday experiences of life and the ministry we share.