As I was in Watchnight on New Year’s Eve amongst the saints and in the midst of praise and worship, a voice–presumably God’s–told me that this was the year that I needed to embark on a journey to find my authentic spirituality. Lately I have been feeling a tug to explore it and this is why I’ve been looking to contemplative practice, Daily Offices, lectio divina and other spiritual practices to find my authentic spirituality and a deeper connection with God. This search for my personal spirituality will also include attending different churches. So that those that know me don’t think I am jumping ship I am keeping my home church, but I am also going visit other churches to fellowship with the greater body of Christ that I have been ignoring. I am personally tired of segregating myself and exhausted with not necessarily feeling like I own my Sunday experience the way I should.
I received confirmation about this by way of the first book that I am reading in 2008 entitled “Monk Habits for Everyday People: Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants.” The author Dennis Okholm has this to say about Protestants learning to fellowship and worship with the different denominations of Christianity:
“…a healthy ecclesiology demands that Protestants learn from their Benedictine brothers and sisters. In Ephesians 3:14-21 Paul prays that his readers will come to know the dimensions of God’s reality “with all the saints.” This was emphasized at my ordination, as I was charged with appreciating the various traditions out of which I had come (Pentecostal and Baptist) along with the one into which I had entered (Presbyterian). Little did I know at that time that this would eventually also include Roman Catholic Benedictines. But it makes sense given the strong emphasis on eschatology (the study of “last things”) in evangelicalism: one day we will gather at the eschatological banquet, surrounded not only by God’s chosen from every nation but also by his chosen from every branch of Christianity.
…Like little children in high society who take classes from Miss Manners so that they will be ready to conduct themselves appropriately at formal dinners, we Christians might as well practice rubbing shoulders with those who will share the table at the great banquet feast of the lamb.”
There are many of us–myself included–that try as we might to create a morning routine that focuses on God.
We pledge to get up early in the morning to have quiet time with Him. We pledge that he’ll be the first person we talk to in the morning. We promise that our knees will be the first thing that hits the floor, that Christian music will be the first tunes that we turn on before we listen to anything else. We promise to set the atmosphere of our day right by putting God first, but then we wake up and end up hitting the snooze five times before stumbling out of bed and giving God some piece meal offering of prayer and time.
It’s hard, I know this for a fact because I can only sustain seasons of disciplined quiet time with God before messing it all up. But I am sick and tired of staying up late with the devil and falling asleep on God.
Thank God for a wonderful word I heard on Sunday morning delivered by Bishop Walter Scott Thomas. His remarks regarding our tired Christianity went a little something like this:
“Don’t pray for the strength to wake up in the morning, pray for the will to get up in the morning.”
In other words you are praying to God to have the will to do the right thing. Praying that you will be obedient enough to use the strength he already gave you in waking up, toward being with him for more than a minute. The time that you spend with God early in the morning should be substantive enough to leave you with a memory of the time spent throughout the day.
And I know that early morning doesn’t work for everyone, so I admonish each to do what is best for Him. Find the optimum time at night to be with Him, find a quiet time in the morning to be with Him, feast on God instead of lunch once a week. By any means necessary just find time to be with Him.
Here’s to an enhanced spirituality.
According to Pope Benedict XVI all of the Protestants in the world are going to hell. How could that be? Well Ratzie has re-written the doctrine of the church–this pretty much justifies any church in existence. This re-write says that Christ established only “one church” on this earth. The grand prize of that title goes to the Roman Catholic church and the runner-up is the Orthodox church. The Catholic church is a “true” church because there is an apostolic succession that can be traced back to the Bible and the church teaches real truth and sanctification in addition to the many sacraments of the church. To a lesser extent the Orthodox church is a runner-up because it also enjoys an apostolic succession, sanctification and the teaching of the unadulterated truth. The only thing that makes the Orthodox church lag behind is the fact that they refuse to recognize the primacy of the Pope–for that I don’t blame them.
Now given all of the complex arguments that will go on because of this amendment to the doctrine, I have come to shine a little light on the situation. It is my prayer that Protestants who will read this news in the next few days will not lose heart in the faith and salvation that God has given them. Fortunately, Pope Benedict has no control over that–the grace of God. He can re-write doctrines until he turns blue but it won’t change the fact that the Protestant church and the servants who work within the church have–through the power of God–saved many souls. That work can’t be belittled because of one man who thinks he has all power in his hands.
Sure, he can re-write the doctrine of the church–this is a natural assignment, but he cannot re-write the fact that we all report to one God and God alone–and that is totally supernatural. Pope Benedict obviously has no idea of the plans that God has in store for his good and faithful servants in the Protestant church, the Catholic church and the Orthodox church. Clearly none of us do or else we’d be further along.
I know that the release of this news doesn’t change a thing about my standing in God. It’s true, the Protestant church is faulty but then again there is not a single perfect church in this world. And as many preachers would say, “If there is a perfect church, it became unperfect the day you walked in because you are not a perfect being.” In my opinion, the “church” as it stands is actually more of a manmade construct for the meeting of organized religion than a sacred space. It has been tainted by its leaders and its membership so it no longer retains it reliability. The real church is inside of us and it only follows the doctrine of God, our heavenly father. I
So I leave you with this one thought. I have transposed its original meaning which was intended to address divorces and marriages but I believe it holds true for the discussion at hand…Mark 10:9 says “Let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Try to re-write that…