The Disciplines

Every summer I find myself looking for ways to relax, disconnect and recharge. Summer sunshine, long days of light and the slower pace demanded by the heat and humanity of Michigan summers, coupled with vacation time with friends, does wonders for my soul. Those lengthened days and easier rhythms of life often open up more time to reflect and do some actual soul searching. These past few weeks I have had a growing desire to pause and determine what practices I want to take into the coming year. Getting up earlier, taking more time to read scripture, adding a few more helpings of vegetables into my diet are all on the list. 

But I also know that I want to go deeper. The fatigue and tension of the past year is still lingering, and I know that I need to connect to God and connect to others in lifegiving and heart strengthening ways. I long to catch a glimpse of God’s shalom – God’s full-bodied, all-encompassing, world healing peace this summer. So, I decided I needed to take a journey through some of the spiritual disciplines found in Richard J. Foster’s book “Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.” And I would like to invite you with me on that journey. 

Beginning next Tuesday, I am going to be posting a short reflection on a different discipline each week, for the next five weeks, with a short exercise connected to the discipline. The reflections will cover: Meditation, Prayer, Worship, Celebration and Fellowship. All of these disciplines are “disciplines of engagement,” actions and activities that invite us to engage with God and with one another. They help us build habits that move us toward deeper lasting connection and love for God and with another.  

There is no exercise tied to a discipline today, but I have include an exercise as a sample of the types of exercises you will see each week (this one would be for meditation): 

Exercise for today:

Read Psalm 1 three times slowly. 

  • The first time you read the passage consider: what does it tell you about God? 
  • The second time you read the passage consider: what does it tell you about God’s love and care for God’s people? 
  • The third time you read the passage consider: what is the passage telling you about the way God loves and cares for you? 

Then take some time to talk to God in prayer about what you have heard and or what you are feeling.