Embracing the Right Order

3 02 2014

 

Becky Savage

Becky Savage, First Presidency

Being comes before doing.” These are simple words. If being comes first, it should have greater priority. Why do we find being more difficult?

The Ministry and Priesthood flyer offers this challenge:

The constant call is to follow the Living Christ and to abide in increasing measure in God’s love and vision for creation. Being comes before doing.

Traditionally, we are a doing people. We show concern for one another. We take care of those most in need. We feel more faithful when we are busy doing Christ’s mission. Abiding in God’s love seems abstract. Or, is it?

The 2013 words of counsel (www.CofChrist.org/presidency/041413wordsofcounsel) offer insights for our spiritual lives. “Involvement in Christ’s mission is enriched and focused through spiritual growth and guidance.” The counsel helps us understand how to expand our spiritual connectedness. This includes the sacraments. “Oneness and equality in Christ are realized through the waters of baptism, confirmed by the Holy Spirit, and sustained through the sacrament of Communion.” There is added guidance for ordination and evangelist blessing.

The counsel expresses two more areas for spiritual enrichment. One is the Mission Initiatives. “As a spiritual venture, boldly follow the initiatives into the heart of God’s vision for the church and creation.” Spiritual venture and growing insights involve being.

Here is a way to make spiritual practice a habit in one’s daily routine. Arrange quiet time and lessen distractions. Read through the Mission Initiatives and perhaps a new hymn. Sections in Community of Christ Sings are specifically for centering, discernment, mission, and spirituality. One example is CCS 181 “Holy Spirit, Teacher, Friend.” Then be quiet and listen for God’s guidance and insights. Make this practice part of your daily routine.

Generosity is another area of focus. “Tithing is a spiritual practice that demonstrates willingness to regularly offer every dimension of one’s life to God.” In this Herald, Presiding Bishop Steve Jones and Presiding Evangelist David Brock share about tithing as a spiritual practice. They offer suggestions about practices that deepen our understandings of God’s generosity.

Brother Brock says, “A spiritual practice is what you do to be.” Please read and follow the suggestions in the “Tithing as a Spiritual Practice” article. Use “For Further Reflection and Discussion” and “Dwelling in the Word” for personal and group spiritual direction. And do it more than once. These are not steps to do and check off the list. They are for intentional, regular, practice. Use them repeatedly to obtain deeper understandings. Take time to study the material. Rather than doing the whole article, try breaking it into parts. Start each session with Dwelling in the Word, then focus on the section over several sessions.

Katie Harmon-McLaughlin offers another expression of spiritual being in this issue. In “A Radical Emptying: Lent” she provides specific guidelines to prepare for Lent. The Lenten journey will begin March 5, 2014 with Ash Wednesday and continue for 40 days. February is the month to begin preparations for this special spiritual journey through Lent.

As Katie suggests, Lent is a time for purging activities and habits that are excessive in our lives. Replace them with God-time; time to “…encounter God within ourselves and in the world around us…” Community of Christ Sings has wonderful songs to connect your spiritual time with the Divine. Look in the sections on Lent and Holy Week and find one or two songs that speak to your sense of connection to God’s Spirit.

The words of counsel urge us to deepen our spiritual lives and connection to God. Begin to balance your life so being comes before doing.

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