Updated: Sep 5, 2019
This coming Sunday, we will wrap up our series on the book of Hebrews. Starting on July 21, we will begin a series where we look at specific faith practices. One of our values at RL is that we nurture our faith and grow our discipleship.
Too often, Lutherans shy away from teaching about faith practices because we are afraid that it will be misunderstood as a work necessary to receive salvation or because we believe that faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which lets us ignore our responsibility for deepening our faith. As Aaron Niequist writes, we are all invited in and are part of the River of God, but it is up to us whether we stay on the dock and simply dip our toes, if we wade in on the edges or if we dive deep and learn to swim in the currents of God’s River. In The Heart of Christianity, Marcus Borg writes about our role as midwives in the process: Intentionality
Being born again is the work of the Spirit. Whether it happens suddenly or gradually, we can’t make it happen, either by strong desire and determination or by learning and believing the right beliefs. But we can be intentional about being born again. Though we can’t make it happen, we can midwife the process. This is the purpose of spirituality: to help birth the new self and nourish the new life. Spirituality is midwifery. Spirituality combines awareness, intention, and practice. I define it as becoming conscious of and intentional about a deepening relationship with God...I am convinced that we are all already in relationship to God and have been from our birth. God is in relationship with us: spirituality is about becoming away of a relationship that already exists. Becoming intentional about our relationship with God: spirituality is about paying attention to the relationship. Though God is “Mystery,” there is nothing mysterious about paying attention to our relationship with God. We do so in the ways we pay attention to a human relationship: by spending time in it, attending to it, being thoughtful about it. We pay attention to our relationship with God through practice, both corporate and individual: worship, community, prayer, scripture, devotion… A deepening relationship with God: ...the Christian life is not very much about believing a set of beliefs, but about a deepening relationship with the one in whom we live and move and have our being. Paying attention to this relationship transforms us. This is what our lives are to be about… In short, spirituality is about the process of being born again (and again and again). Is is at the heart of the Christian life...One of the central purposes of our life together as church would be to midwife and nourish the process of being born again." (The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg, pp 120-121) As our congregation seeks redevelopment and transformation, we know that the first step begins with each one of us, seeking God’s will in our lives. As we look towards these different practices of faith, we look to open our selves to what God is doing in and among us. While there are many different things that people consider faith practices or ways to engage their spirituality, we will be guiding by the ELCA’s Fanning the Flames of Discipleship and the seven faith practices that are included. As we enter the fall, I will be looking to form another discipleship group where, as a small group of believers, we will meet weekly to strengthen and challenge each other as we are intentional about growing in faith. Let me know if you would be interested in joining a group! In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord,