First steps on the journey of faith and community

Category: The Way of Jesus (Page 1 of 5)

January 20 — The Way of Jesus : earthing, winding, firing, watering

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt

Read Hebrews 11:1-12:3

Let let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

More thoughts for meditation

Being a Jesus-follower is being part of a movement—a people movement following our leader: the pioneer taking us to the ultimate land of promise. Jesus began this movement and remains at the head of it. The Holy Spirit has sustained this movement throughout the ages. In every age it is this movement that has demonstrated the Father’s kingdom coming, and his will being done on earth as in heaven.

Nevertheless, throughout the history of the church, people have stopped in their tracks. Church leaders have found a place that feels good and they have pronounced, “We’ve arrived.” Not good.

The first, simplest and most challenging thing Jesus ever asked is recorded in the gospels for us with just two words: “Follow Me.” It’s hard to be a follower if you believe you’ve already arrived—if you already have all the answers, or if you’ve already built a fence around your position and chosen to defend it at all costs against any encroachment. The church that has arrived is going nowhere. It is impossible for a movement to have already arrived. It is impossible to be a follower if you’ve stopped going somewhere. There is a future horizon toward which we are straining.

We are called to be fully at home in earth, wind, fire and water, starting right where we are in the moment. But since we are introduced to that grace in which we presently stand by Jesus, who we follow, we know we need to keep moving with him—into our own depths, into the world of need around us, and into the future. We are earthing, winding, firing, and watering.

Suggestions for action

In the last two weeks, you have been introduced to many basic things that keep us moving along the Way of Jesus. You were led to the Bible every day. Each day you were called to action.

It was demanding, wasn’t it? You may have been tempted to sit with it all like you were the center of the universe, receiving or rejecting input. But if you became a Jesus follower, you realized that the center comes from beyond you and you are a carrier of that power and love. You realized you need to get out and move.

Moving to this screen each day is part of the movement. But if you are listening, you know that Jesus might take you anywhere. In the United States, we are especially tempted to see the world as something to be chosen and consumed; we are stuck with an “imperial gaze;” we settle wherever we feel like living; we think of pioneering as conquering and owning. But like our scripture says today, we are called to move after Jesus, who calls us to places we have never fully imagined.

Journal about that. Where have you inappropriately settled—in terms of your personal growth, in terms of your action? Where are you moving?

January 19 — The Way of Jesus: earth, wind, fire, water

Today’s Bible reading

Read Psalm 104

You make the winds your messengers,
    fire and flame your ministers.

You set the earth on its foundations,
    so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment

More thoughts for meditation

Like the Bible shows in today’s reading, knowing God is as simple as walking outside and experiencing the Creator, or looking inside and sensing how reality works. One of the reasons we chose the metaphor of earth, wind, fire and water to describe the movement of getting from here to there with God is because we are Bible people and the writers of the Bible are in an organic relationship with God, not involved in a disembodied assessment of a concept called “God” or “religion.” Even if you missed the Bible and the Church, you could still start with creation and the Holy Spirit behind it and end up being led to a renewed relationship with the Lord.

How has the discipline of Daily Prayer :: Wind worked for you so far? Did using your computer or phone help you or distract you? Did you have a space where you could concentrate and pray or did you just do some thinking on the run? When you did not understand something did you investigate further or ask a friend? When you got a suggestion, did you try it?

The way of Jesus is a movement; we’ve got to move with it. Many people have called it a dance; we need to get out on the floor and feel the music with Jesus.

Suggestions for action

In the last two weeks, you have been introduced to many basic things that keep us moving along the Way of Jesus. You were led to the Bible every day, your were asked to mentalize (that’s one thing we do when we meditate—feel our thoughts and think about our feelings until we can understand our experience and experience our understanding). You received an introduction to our resources on the Way of Jesus site—and those resources will keep growing. You were given a few ways to pray and study. Each day you were called to action.

How did that work for you? It was quite a bit, wasn’t it? If you reached one post that really set something off in you, maybe that was enough! Why don’t you go back through the last two weeks of gifts for growing and see if there were one or two things that God seemed to be giving you, especially. Go through the process with the Lord again and see where it takes you.

January 18 — The Way of Jesus/Water: Making ripples

Today’s Bible reading

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. —1 Corinthians 3:6-13

More thoughts for meditation

The fluidity of the water stage might remind you of the myth of a “compartmentalized” life. There really is no such thing, is there? The “spiritual” and the mundane flow into each other regularly. “Me-time” gets interrupted by others, and God is there, too. It is like when Jesus healed and ate on the Sabbath. The Pharisees did not like that he was mixing categories, and the pharisee in me sometimes gets stuck on arbitrary boundaries, too. Jesus answers us: “Those categories were just tools to help you in the beginning. They were made for you, not you for them! I am Lord of all the categories, and life is one whole cloth. Follow me, and I will teach you how to be sustained and serving, healed and healing.”

Try this prayer practice (adapted from Ruth Haley Barton)

  • Picture a place that brings you comfort and a sense of safety.
  • Imagine God sitting in that place with you.
  • Just be with God for a few minutes.
  • Allow God to bring others to your heart and mind—any person or situation that is of concern to you, someone who has asked for your prayers, or a situation that is causing you stress or requires wisdom.
  • Imagine God asking you, “Is it OK for us to invite this person to join us (or for us to look at this situation together)?”
  • If you can say “Yes,” welcome that person into the space where you and God are communing and be with that person, group or situation in God’s presence.
  • Listen for the prayer (desire, groaning?) that the Holy Spirit is already praying for that person or situation.
  • Ask God, “How can I join you in that prayer?”
  • See if there is anything God is inviting you to offer to that person or situation.
  • Do not force or push anything.
  • If nothing comes, continue to rest in God relative to that situation.
  • If wisdom or a next step does come, determine that you will respond faithfully as God makes the way clear.


Suggestions for action

Go to a body of water: the ocean, one of our rivers, a pool, a puddle, a bathtub, a bucket, a bowl.

Take a rock (a pebble, a ball, something that will sink to the depths) and invest it with some kind of meaning—something that needs to get into the water, to be healed, to feel enveloped, to be stirred up or to be stirring things up. Ceremoniously take your rock, say or shout its meaning (like “Shame!,” or “Compassion!” or “Fear!” or “Action!”) and throw it into the body of water. Make ripples that visualize your own impact. Stay with it until the ripples have died down. Wait for yourself to be quiet, too.

Today is the MLK national holiday. It is one of two days the nation celebrates that we think should intersect with the Christian calendar. Check out our thoughts at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body. Also ther today is Amy Carmichael day! Visit this missionary ancestor and influential author, as well.

« Older posts