Time Management and the Church
A devotional thought for the Day:
42 They spent their time learning the apostles’ teaching, sharing, breaking bread, n and praying together. Acts 2:42 NCV
Chapter 7 Baptism into union with Jesus is the sign of our new spiritual identity with the Triune God and with each other in the church. In baptism Christians embrace the new life that is the gift of God’s grace through Jesus Christ by the Spirit.
Chapter 8 The spiritual life is a living into our baptism—dying to all that is sin and death, rising through the new birth into the new life modeled by Jesus, the one who images humanity completely united to God’s original purposes for creation. The spiritual life contemplates the mystery of God revealed in Jesus Christ and participates in the purposes of God for humanity.
Chapter 9 The spiritual life is disciplined by the rule of steadfastness, fidelity, and obedience; it attends to prayer, study, and work; it meets God in daily life, in material things, and in people.
Chapter 10 The spiritual life is nourished by the church, which is the continued presence of the incarnate Jesus in and to the world. The spiritual life is nurtured by worship that sings, prays, preaches, and enacts the divine embrace in its daily prayer, weekly celebration, and yearly attention to God’s saving embrace in the services of the Christian Year. (1)
Only from a personal encounter with the Lord can we carry out the diakonia (service) of tenderness without letting us get discouraged or be overwhelmed by the presence of pain and suffering.
A friend put up a meme the other day, that testified to the power of a good hug, one of those so powerful that you can feel the other person’s heart beat, and the ability it has to calm you down and assure you that everything will be all right. I experienced those kinds of hugs on vacation, as some of my friends from junior high got together 38 years after we had last seen each other. It was remarkable and refreshing. (thanks, Ana, Dina, Christos, Danny, Glenn, and Brian!)
It is the kind of life the church had in its infancy, one we call koinonia or living in communion with each other. We become a community that is incredibly close, and there for each other. It is hard to explain, the level of such a relationship, where even years melt away as…. I can think of no other word… the intimacy of the communion is restored. ( Not physical intimacy as in sexual intimacy, but a connection of souls)
Webber would note that such an embrace is possible because of God, of His drawing us into His story, of Him invading ours, not just to purge us of our sin, but to embrace us, to heal us, to bring us into the depth of His peace. The outline of his chapters above shows how this happens in baptism and the spiritual life that is created as we learn to walk with God. This is what Pope Francis was talking about when he mentions our service and ministry of tenderness that begins with a personal (intimate) encounter with God. If not a part of our lives we will (and still do when we forget to return there) burnt out, we will be overwhelmed. But with God’s embrace, and with those around us who likewise are locked in His embrace, we are safe… and can find the rest we need, even as we hurt.
Webber went on from the start of the Divine Embrace to note that this spiritual life, this divine embrace is nourished in the gathering of people known as the church. It is there we find the presence of the incarnate Christ in the world (this is why some call the church our mother and say salvation is not found apart from her! ) As we pray and worship, as we continue in the apostles teaching of the Word of God (Jesus) as revealed in the word of God (scripture) as we take and eat the body of Christ, and take and drink His blood, poured out to remove all of our sin and restore our relationship with God, this divine embrace, this intimate relationship with God is restored, and it envelops all of us.
This early description of the church in Acts talks of this – look at what they did! It doesn’t say they held endless meetings or held strategy meetings for growth. It says that they did the things which reminded us and strengthened our awareness of God’s embrace.
Maybe it is the time we got back to being the church, rather than doing church. Our people need it, we need it. and oddly enough God treasures it far more than we can realize. For He sent Jesus to minister to us, even to the point of offering His life as a sacrifice, that we could be held in God’s hands…
Time management in the church? Where is our time of understanding God’s word, praying together, sharing our lives and meals together, and sharing in the Eucharist? It may seem too simple, but the joy we will find being those God called together will be far more contagious than anything we can plan.
The Lord is with you! It is time to manage our time so that we spend most of it Celebrating that Divine Embrace!
Webber, Robert E. The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006. Print. Ancient-Future Series.
Pope Francis. A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings. Ed. Alberto Rossa. New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis, 2013. Print.
Posted on July 29, 2017, in Ancient Future, Devotions, Pope Francis, Theology in Practice and tagged baptism, Baptismal Life, Communion, Eucharist, Hugs, intimacy with God, spirituality, St Francis, The Church. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.