A Personal “Faith Fitness” Program for the Summer
For most of us, the summer months bring changes of schedule and opportunities for experiences outside our normal routines. We may stray from our regular diets and exercise efforts for a time, as we embrace vacation time from other responsibilities. What we lose in regular discipline we gain in the enrichment of rest and new experiences.
Inevitably, we will probably also “take a break” from church and our various ministries that are the active expressions of our discipleship; and this, too, can be a helpful part of the rhythm of the faith-life. Notice in the gospels how often Jesus is portrayed as “withdrawing from the crowds” in order to re-focus on his ministry.
As a suggestion for this summer, consider adding to your
“time break” a bit of nourishment and exercise focused on deepening and strengthening your ministry as a follower of Christ.
First, read one book on some aspect of our shared faith journey. Here are a few general suggestions:
• Marcus Borg, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time – A helpful “big picture” introduction to the Bible, with an intriguing invitation to see its familiar content through a new lens.
• Brian McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian – A fascinating and enlightening reflection on the contemporary direction of spirituality and its impact on church life and its ministry.
• Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: the Trinity and Your Transformation – Interesting reflections on the traditional concept of the Trinity.
Second, use your vacation experiences to sharpen your capacity for awe and reverence as you see the wonders of nature. Whether in the mountains, the sea-coast, or anywhere in between, scenery, wildlife, sunrises and sunsets can nourish our sense of reverence and a commitment to stewardship of the gift of creation.
Also, be expressive of your gratitude for restaurant wait-staff, hotel housekeeping personnel, and the countless others whose service makes our vacation time enjoyable. Such expressions mediate the grace of God to others, making ordinary encounters expressions of ministry.
Restful breaks, good nourishment, and exercise are essential for healthy physical life. They are important for the spiritual dimension of life as well.
Our guest writer this month is Colin Harris. Colin is retired from Mercer University. He teaches the Discovery Sunday School class.