LENT: 4 Spiritual Practices to try this season

    02.01.21 | Pastoral Reflections by Brad Sumner

    Growing up one summer, I had an accident and almost lost my right thumb.  I had multiple stitches and bracing and bandages and when all of that came off, I found that I couldn’t move my thumb!  It had shrivelled to the point where even a simple bend was a massive effort.  (thank goodness this was in the pre-texting days!)

    What had occurred, of course, was that my muscles wasted away due to lack of use.  This is known as atrophy.  But atrophy is not just a muscle issue.  It happens in our spiritual and relational lives as well.  When we are out of the habit of doing something, the next time we do it, it tends to be, well… harder!    

     

     This is where spiritual practices come in.  Some writers and thinkers in the Christian tradition have called them spiritual disciplines.  Author Dallas Willard, for example, once helpfully said that “a discipline is an activity within our power that enables us to accomplish what we cannot do by direct effort.”  Just like athletes undertake a routine of exercise & healthy input so they can excel when they need to, we as followers of Jesus are invited to build into our lives practices that will help us grow and develop into the people God wants us to become.

     This month, we are diving into four spiritual practices that, if deployed with some level of regularity, will help keep you strong and vibrant in way that you simply can’t get without some effort (remembering that Willard also said that “grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action. Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.”). 

    Here’s just four of the many topics we could cover in this discussion:

    •  Sun, Feb 14 - FASTING – Some Christians have a practice of fasting for Lent.  What’s the purpose and importance of fasting?  Is there a difference between intermittent fasting for my health and fasting for spiritual purposes?  Do I have to fast from food or can I give up other stuff? (like Facebook). 

    • Sun, Feb 21- COMMUNITY – We are out of the habit of gathering weekly in the same space.  What are the implications on our long-term spiritual health? What does it look like to practice the discipline of community in the time of COVID 19?

    • Sun, Feb 28 – SABBATH – What’s the difference between a day off and a Sabbath? Is the Sabbath just an Old Testament thing (if so, shouldn’t it be on Saturday?).  Why is this part of the Ten Commandments?

    • Sun, March 7 – SIMPLICITY – What’s the difference between minimalism and simplicity? What does the Bible say about simplicity and how might that uniquely challenge us as North Americans? 

     Join us for a journey into the fascinating world of forming healthy habits that can nurture and sustain your growth as a person in the midst of an ever-changing world. 

    Pastor Brad