Rector’s Blog

Mellowness of Heart and Soul

I wish I had come up with that phrase.  It is actually a section title in a wonderful book I am reading, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality. 

The chapter I read yesterday would have added a lot to my sermon Sunday.  Here are a few quotes:

Sanctity [holiness] has to do with gratitude. To be a saint is to be fueled by gratitude…

Sanctity is as much about having a mellow heart [the shalom that passes understanding?] as it is about believing and doing the right things; it is as much about proper energy as about truth.

Our task as Christians is to transform the world through love and justice but we will not succeed in this if our actions issue forth from anger or guilt.  Only one kind of person transforms the world spiritually, someone with a grateful heart.

Both liberals and conservatives believe that their causes are so urgent, we are so wounded, and our world is so bad, that, in our situation, anger and bitterness are justified.  But we are wrong. The wrong God is the God of both the contemporary right and the contemporary left, that is, the God who is as wired, bitter, anxious, workaholic, neurotic and unhappy as we are.

If you have not listened (again) to Sunday’s message, I encourage you to fill a cup with your favorite warm beverage and sit down for 20 minutes to give it a second listen.  I don’t often tout my own sermons, but I don’t feel like this one is mine.

 

God’s One Answer

From The Normal Christian Life, by Watchman Nee
God makes it quite clear in His Word that He has only one answer to every human need — His Son, Jesus Christ.  In all His dealings with us He works by taking us out of the way and substituting Christ in our place.
The Son of God died instead of us for our forgiveness: He lives instead of us for our deliverance. So we can speak of two substitutions a Substitute on the Cross who secures our forgiveness and a Substitute within who secures our victory.
It will help us greatly, and save us from much confusion, if we keep constantly before us this fact, that God will answer all our questions in one way only, namely, by showing us more of His Son.

Tell Me Your Rituals…

One of our “Ten Goals for Life Together” at St Peter’s is that every member will establish what the ancients called a “Rule of Life”– a daily pattern of behavior designed to form our character and keep us walking the right path.

That goal is a little misleading, because all of us already have a “Rule of Life”, though we may not have given it much thought or intention.

What we do everyday is what has made us into the person we are.  Change in who we are will come from changes in our daily “rituals.”  If these don’t change, we won’t change.

Here is a great article on the topic, Anthony Moore.

Tell Me What Your Rituals Are and I’ll Tell You Who You Are

Rituals are the actions you take, consistently.

Rituals are the reason you are who you are right now. Everyone has rituals — good ones and bad ones. Overweight people have specific rituals. So do athletes. So do alcoholics, authors, CEO’s, dancers, powerlifters, and rich people.

Rituals are the backbone of your environment and standards. What you do becomes what you are, always. As Aristotle once famously said, “You are what you repeatedly do.”

Of course, everyone wants a better life. Who doesn’t want a fun, nurturing relationship with a sexy partner? Or financial independence? Or a fit body, or self-confidence and personal pride?

Most people’s problem isn’t the desire; the problem is the execution. The problem is twofold:

  1. Most people don’t have good rituals (in fact, they have many bad ones).
  2. When they try to start good rituals, they can’t last.

If you tell me your rituals, I’ll tell you who you are. What do do consistently becomes reality. This is true for every area of your life — your money, your relationships, your health/body, your spirituality, your sleep.

If you want to improve one of these areas of your life, the solution is simple: you need to upgrade your rituals. Upgraded rituals lead to an upgraded life.

Click here for the rest of the piece.