Sunday night was a wonderful gift in the middle of our Lenten journey. We started the evening weaving “Take us, Lord” throughout our opening liturgy. I have been sitting with and praying the lyrics this morning asking God to take us, shape us, send us, and use us.
Then, what a joy it was to have Ashlee Eiland with us! Ashlee helped us reframe a core question in our lives. What if we stopped focusing on how we are doing and instead explored our proximity to God in relationship? Ashlee taught us that our false selves focus on what we do, the ways we attempt to earn or prove the love of God in our lives, but our true selves rest in loving relationship with our creator.
Ashlee then shared a helpful framework for dying to the false self in order to truly live. We start with knowing. How can we live in close proximity to our creator so that we can continually know who we have been created to be? Then we inspect. We ask if our lives are arranged in a way that God can truly form us. Finally, we submit to our loving creator for pruning. Pruning is not punishment, it is a clearing out of the false in order to allow the fullness of our true selves to bloom and produce kingdom fruit.
Aaron then led us in a beautifully pastoral practice of the Examen. The Examen is a deeply formational discipline that helps us know and live in proximity to God. It helps us inspect how God is working in our lives and surrender to his pruning. Our practice led us to God’s presence in the holy sacrament of communion.
If you missed this week, please make some space to listen. You won’t regret it.
Because Sunday is not the main event, we have two Kingdom Practices this week. The first is to continue crafting, living, and refining the simple rhythm of life we each created two weeks ago. (If you haven’t crafted a simple rhythm yet, you can use this handout.) How might the description of your rhythm be refined by this week’s practice? As you practice the spiritual disciplines you identified for your rhythm, is there anything you sense God leading you to adjust or refine? Our second kingdom practice is to make time for the practice of the Examen. Will you commit with me to practicing the Examen daily this week?
Finally, The Practice is meeting next week, but we will not be in the chapel. We will be meeting in homes throughout the area to build community and share this journey together at our second ever Practice Table. If you would like help finding a table to attend, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). We would love to help get you connected.
Coming Home to Your True Self by Father Albert Haase is a simple exploration of our true self using the story of the prodigal son.
The Gift of Being Yourselfby David Benner is another helpful book that explores Christian identity and the concepts of true self and false self.
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun is the best and most comprehensive resource for individual disciplines around.
Being Disciples is a short read (and FREE!) about the role of the spiritual disciplines on this journey.
Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Barton casts a beautiful vision for a rhythm of life.
God in My Everything by Ken Shigematsu is another wonderful book about rhythms of life.
Crafting a Rule of Life by Stephen Macchia is a practical resource for building a rhythm of life.