by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters enewsletter, 2/6/14

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Jesus said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." The life of Jesus leads us closer to the kind of life that is really life. It draws us away from competing ways of living that make our confessions of Christ unintelligible in our actions. Each week, on Wednesday evenings, we have been talking about practices that shape our life in a Christly way.

"Christian practices," writes Craig Dykstra, "are not activities we do to make something spiritual happen in our lives. Nor are they duties we undertake to be obedient to God. Rather, they are patterns of communal action that create openings in our lives where the grace, mercy, and presence of God may be made known to us. They are places where the power of God is experienced. In the end, these are not ultimately our practices but forms of participation in the practice of God."

Each practice:

  • involves us in God's activities in the world and reflects God's grace and love
  • is a complex set of acts, words and images that addresses one area of fundamental human need
  • is learned with and from other people
  • comes to us from the past and will be shaped by us for the future
  • is thoughtful; it implies certain beliefs about ourselves, our neighbors, and God
  • is done within the church, in the public realm, in daily work, and at home
  • shapes the people who participate in the practice, individually and communally
  • has good purposes, although it often becomes corrupted
  • comes to focus in worship.

Living into these practices of faith helps us to tell the story of Jesus by our actions. In performing these practices, we "tell the story, by which, we are told."

Wednesday Evenings in February
February 12    Forgiveness
February 19    Play
February 26    Testimony