Our mantra for Lent this year is “Wear the box. Be the box. Think in the box.” (Don’t forget the hand motions!) It’s an easy summary (43 characters for a tweet) of what we are doing. As we make room for the box in our lives, we are making room for practices of faith. Practices “create openings in our lives where the grace, mercy, and presence of God may be made known to us” as the authors write in Practicing Our Faith. They are ways of living in the Promised Land of the resurrection. We aren’t so much heading toward Easter’s good news as living in it more intentionally by how we live our lives today.
“People-at-practice do things.” That is another way I would tweet a summary of our Lenten theme this year (plus it is only 29 characters). In doing so, we don’t open up our lives to the practices in some supernatural or unnatural way, but in who we already are and how we are already living:
- in the life-affirming way that we call ourselves human beings not human doings,
- in ways that honor our bodies and all bodies as created to reflect God’s goodness,
- in how we make decisions and discern faithful ways to live together in our homes, in our work, and in our church,
- in how we say “yes” to what is good, healthy and whole and “no” to what brings discord and destruction.
Anyone can be a mindless Christian, but practicing our faith deepens our awareness of what we are doing so that we know our identity as reflections of God’s goodness and we know our purpose as part of God’s work in the world.
That last sentence is really important. We don’t practice our faith only to do good deeds or fulfill a checklist or even to earn God’s love and grace. We do them to connect with God, one another and the world. We do them because we are searching for a life-affirming ways to live in the midst of so much that denies or denigrates life, that robs us and others of our true identity as created in God’s image. Our practice connects us to our mission to share life with all whom we encounter, including God’s creation.
Thanks for all the stories and feedback about this study. Your comments about the practices testify to the search we all are on and how God is making you more aware of God’s presence in the normal, everyday things we do. What we do at church is connected to what we do in our daily lives, and these practices connect us to our mission beyond ourselves and our church, to reach out and share the new life we celebrate in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I’m looking forward to how our “thinking in the box” will open up new possibilities for our lives and life together as we journey on to explore keeping Sabbath, forgiveness, testimony and singing our lives. If you haven’t already, check out the weekly practice on our website (fpcyorktown.org/practices), join a discussion group (Sunday morning, Wednesday evening, Thursday morning), and come to worship. As our cross in the sanctuary shows, these practices are preparing us to hear and celebrate the good news of Easter, not just on March 31, but every day of our lives.