After living in the same house for 18 years now and adding three children over the course, I constantly find myself wanting to purge. We have too much stuff — too many books, too many DVDs, too many … So I find myself trying to create just enough space so that I can fit the new things in …
This isn’t just in my house and living space. If I am authentic and real, this is a reality in all aspects of my life. I am constantly finding myself wanting to purge things from my calendar, from my to-do list. I have too much ________ (going on, work, homework, etc.). Thinking about our current sermon series — THIS IS US, right? We are hyperbusy, overscheduled individuals and families struggling to fit it all in.
As part of the Lenten journey, we always invite you to make space for self-reflection and intentionality by taking on a discipline such as fasting, reading the Book of Mark, Bible study, etc. But that invitation slams up against the realities of our life. So the question to ask is: Are these things vital or important? Important enough to move them up on the priority list?
I want to share with you the words I read this week from Henri Nouwen which struck a chord with me. Here is his explanation of why these disciplines are vital:
Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating.
It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God’s guidance.
Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God’s gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.
What I keep hearing in my Lenten journey is this: “When we work, God works.” When we take the initiative to worship, to read the Bible, to fast, to reach out to someone who is hurting or sick or in need, God works. God works on our hearts, God works on our view of the world, God works on our ability to forgive, God works on our patience, God works on our compassion and acceptance of others. When we create space for God, God works on us — transforming us, changing us and leading us into the abundant life Jesus promised. When we create space, God works through us, so that His Kingdom might draw near and all might know of His grace given in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Are you creating space for God?
I hope you will make the space to be in worship with us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series THIS IS jesUS and celebrate God’s amazing grace given to us in the sacrament of Holy Communion.