Monday, March 13, 2006
It's possible to learn to recognize the myriad ways that God touches us outside of that which is openly spiritual and we can share these moments with others. God touches us through painful growth experiences of loss and grief, through moments of creative and athletic excellence, through moments of victory over our problems and through the tenderness of relationships. God's grace falls on the just and unjust alike. All humanity experiences God's hand. These moments when we touch something eternal and noble and good are God's footprints in our lives---His prevenient grace. People need to realize that the God they feel they do not know has, in fact, been at work already in their lives in many ways. -Chris Harding quoted in THE SHAPING OF THINGS TO COME by Frost and Hirsch
Our approach to spirituality has been highjacked by Greek dualism where life is divided into two part: the material or natural part and the spiritual part. Generally, the material part of life is looked down upon and considered something to be conquered not redeemed. The spiritual is looked upon as the better part or the good part that only matters.
This dualism is what makes those of us seeking to live more spiritual lives seem schizophrenic. What we need to understand is that God doesn't look at life in that way. Life is much more complexly and messily integrated. This is the message of the Incarnation. God sees the material as essential to existence. We act and live through our bodies. I used to admire the saying, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human experience." I realize now that this only promotes the kind of dualism that causes so much consternation in Christian discipleship.
What we need is a spirituality of incarnation. Mike Slaughter once wrote that, "Incarnation is where the sacred and the secular meet." Incarnational spirituality creates a vibrant spirituality. One that can embrace all of life and does not compartmentalize spirit from everything else. This kind of spirituality embraces all of our God-created passions like nobility, love, sex, ambition, dreams, hope, etc.
We feel God when we feel the excitement of the underdog beating the favorite team. We feel God when we are moved to tears by a powerful scene in a movie. We feel God when we come alive when we fall in love. These are all ordinary moments. But these moments are very compelling. Moments when God touches our soul in the ordinary things in life.
People who live in this way make spirituality something real, tangible and attainable. Jesus was just like this. He lived in such a way that he embraced all of life. He saw the Spirit in everything and not just in "spiritual things."
Followers of Christ who embrace life in this way can draw people into God's unfolding story in the following ways:
1. Appreciate everyday moments.
2. Nurture a sense of wonder and awe.
3. Be extraordinarily loving.
4. Connect to God's presence in all creation.
5. Embrace life!