I shared a little bit about prayer in last week’s email & this week would like to continue that thought a little but also provide some clarification regarding spiritual disciplines as a whole. I’m not proud of this fact, but I have on numerous occasions attempted to guilt trip people into praying more, going to church, reading their bible more, sharing Jesus with others, etc. as duties or obligations for what a spiritual life looks like. But these & other spiritual disciplines aren’t duties or obligations that we HAVE to do, but rather gifts to us that we GET to do!
Jesus said it this way in Mark 2: “The Sabbath was made for us, we weren’t made for the Sabbath.” We aren’t indebted to the sabbath, the sabbath was given to us as a gift to rest, reflection, relationships & renewal. (Ooh, those all start with R, I could work a sermon around that). I often hear people say or churches advertise things like: “do _____ in order to get closer to God.” My personal view of the incarnation (he is in all & through all) tells me that we can’t actually get any closer than we already are & yet there is a relational aspect at hand to where we FEEL closer at times. I used to believe, & even teach, others that God moves away from us when we stray or fall short; thankfully, I don’t believe or teach that any longer & instead believe just the opposite, God actually draws near & even runs to us! But part of discipleship & sanctification is to willfully draw near to him & the result of that is often FEELING closer to him.
Either way he loves us & is near us but why not take advantage of the gifts he’s given us like corporate worship, prayer, holy communion, meditating on scripture...to maximize the reality of his love & proximity. The sabbath along with spiritual disciplines were given not as nasty tasting medicine that we have to take in order not to get sick, but as beautiful gifts to optimize our health. Let’s receive & embrace those gifts with thanksgiving. Hope to see you & worship with you this Sunday.
Much love to you all, Pastor Chris.