Spiritual Disciplines

Henry Nouwen in, From Solitude to Community to Ministry, highlights three Spiritual disciplines from Luke 6:12-19 that Jesus models for us.  These are solitude, community, and ministry.

Solitude: “Jesus went onto the mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night in prayer to God.”

Community:When day came, he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them and called them apostles”

Ministry: He then came down with them and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples. There was a great crowd of people from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and be cured of their diseases.”

Nouwen states regarding discipline:  “In the Spiritual Life discipline means the effort to create some space in which God can act.  Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied.  In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on.  Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up.”

Nouwen points out that from solitude you know you are beloved as you commune with God, and from community you learn forgiveness and celebration and pain in vulnerability and weakness  as people get to know you. Indeed in Jesus’ community were some who loved him and one who betrayed him.  And from these interactions ministry flows.

Ministry is then trusting that power will flow from Christ to you as you, the beloved, keep forgiving and celebrating with those in community and go and heal as Jesus did.

He says that, just like with him, we have to suffer before entering into glory.  We have to lose to gain, and the grain has to die before being fruitful.  These are all done in community and from this flows ministry.

Nouwen states that in this crazy world we see good and bad, sorrow and joy but: “in the eyes of God they’re never separated.” There’s pain and healing, mourning and dancing.

We are sent into a fallen hurting world – let’s be sure to be alone and spend time with God.  Let’s live and learn with others and from this serve him and testify to him as we go and heal others physically and spiritually in his power for his glory.

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