We have been practicing as a community for six weeks now and have learned several different practices. This week, we would like to review the practices we have learned so far and suggest one way to practice them as an ongoing rhythm of life as followers of Jesus.
Recap of Kingdom Practices by Week
In week 1, we practiced Lectio Divina, which is an ancient practice that stems from the belief that Scripture is alive and active (Heb 4:12) and seeks to help us listen for what God’s word is saying to us in the present moment through the Holy Spirit. A typical way to practice Lectio is to use the Read, Listen, and Repeat method.
In week 2, we practiced Noticing. Jesus taught us to seek the kingdom of God, but the first step in doing so, is noticing the kingdom. So often, we believe the kingdom is somewhere else, but it is, as Jesus taught in his kingdom parables, in our very ordinary moments, daily routines, and day-to-day relationships. One way to practice Noticing is to ask God for eyes to see, believe that the kingdom is all around you, and then be attentive to the moments in your day that its presence is manifest, writing down where you noticed the kingdom.
In week 3, we practiced The Open Chair, a way of understanding the process of spiritual transformation by arranging two chairs, one for us and one for God. Between these chairs is our soul, a thing to be restored to Christlikeness and wholeness when we bring our brokenness and openness and God brings his grace, power, and forgiveness. One way to practice The Open Chair is to arrange the chair as a tangible reminder of God’s role in your transformation, sit quietly and listen for what God is speaking to you, and read Scripture verses that remind you of God’s promises to restore and transform you.
In week 4, we practiced Forgiveness, which is at the heart of the kingdom of God and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Forgiveness, however, is a difficult and messy practice that happens in stages. One way to practice forgiveness is to first feel the pain of being hurt by acknowledging it. Then, stop fighting or attacking the person who hurt you, laying down your right to revenge. Third, pray for the one who hurt you and ask God to bless him/her in their life. Finally, as Jesus demonstrated how to love and forgive in John 21, bless or serve the person who hurt you in a tangible way.
In week 5, we practiced Serving Others. Although we typically think of serving others as meeting a physical need, we know that Jesus taught us to meet both spiritual and physical needs of those we encounter. One way to practice serving in this holistic way, as Jesus did, is to immerse yourself in the verses of Scripture that describe how Jesus served, ask God to show you someone in your life who has a need, whether physical or spiritual, that you could partner with God to meet, and then serve the person God brings to mind or who crosses your path with the words, actions, and courage God grants you.
Each of these practices is central to a living relationship with Jesus. This week, incorporate each in your daily life. Here’s one way to do this:
Arrange the Open Chair. Pull an open chair up across from you to put yourself in a posture to remind yourself that God is seeking to transform you into Christlikeness and that you have a role to play and so does he.
Read. Read the verse listed below for the particular day using Lectio Divina.
Pray. Open your hands in prayer, asking God to give you eyes to see his kingdom and the ways you can join with him through your forgiveness and blessing of others, through serving someone in need, and in whatever other way he would invite you to participate.
Listen. Sit silently for 2-3 minutes and listen for what God is speaking to you and seeking to transform in you.
Respond. If God gives you actions to take, whether it is to forgive, to serve, to bless, or to take a step of faith in some other way, respond in obedience.
Daily Scripture Reading
Monday: Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-52
Wednesday: Philippians 1:3-6
Thursday: Matthew 18:21-35
Friday: Luke 4:14-32
Saturday: Matthew 25:31-46