A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to preach at Resurrection West. After my sermon, I went outside to get some fresh air and I found 5 really kind kiddos having a blast playing together. When I asked them what they were playing they went on to explain all sorts of things about chocolate and lava and monsters. I asked them how to play and they looked at me, an “old” pastor and said something along the lines of: “You just kinda do.”
Do you remember the glory days? There is something so fun about playing games without the rules – at least at first, but at some point the game gets messy. The rules of a game have a purpose. In the game of baseball, for instance, once you know the rules, you see the beautiful dance, the masterful athleticism, and the respectable integrity out on the field.
This week as we talk about discipline and practice in baseball and in faith, I want to challenge you to pray about the “unspoken” rules that guide your life. St. Benedict, a monk, started the tradition long ago of having those living in the monastery live by a common rule of life. This week I want you to pray and work on forming your own rule of life—something that will help you remember to practice spiritual disciplines. As you do so, I want you to remember this isn’t about making pointless rules, but instead “A rule for life offers unique and regular rhythms that free and open each person to the will and presence of God.” (Calhoun, 35) I borrowed the tips on “Writing a Rule” from Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook.
- When and where do you feel closest to God? How do you enter most deeply into an awareness of his love for you? Pay attention to the experience practice and relationships that draw you toward God. Are there any particular practices that open you up to God? Are there any practices that seem to stymie you?
- What is most important to you? What gives you a sense of security and self-worth? What would people who know you best say it’s like to live and work with you> Where do your relationships need attention? Who do you want to become? What receives the most attention in your life? Your partner? Job? Family? Friends? Hobbies?
- What do you currently do to realize your goals and longing? Work? Study? Pray? Network? Socialize? Diet? Work out? Which of these things hinder or help your spiritual journey?
- What practices suit your daily, monthly and yearly rhythms and cycles? What limitations are built into your life at the moment? What longing remain steady throughout? What responsibilities and rhythms change with various seasons?
- Where do you want to change? Where do you feel powerless to change? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you do through grace what you cannot do through effort alone.
- Choose several disciplines that arise from your desire for God’s transforming work and that suit the limits and realities of your life. Begin your practice.”
So, the question is, what spiritual disciplines is God calling you to now? How can you get your head in God’s game?
-Rev. Katherine Ebling-Frazier