Tuesday, April 3, 2018

spiritual practice

As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. (Luke 24:15-16)


Never underestimate the value of spiritual practice in life with God.  We are not told exactly what kept the disciples from being able to recognize Jesus.  Maybe it was the chaos of the last few days, maybe it was all that was swimming around in their hearts and minds at the moment, or maybe it was something bigger than that.  Who knows?  But we are told what helped them to finally realize who it was that stood before them--the breaking of the bread.  Spiritual Practice.

Spiritual practice is the thing that keeps us rooted and attentive and aware.  It keeps us awake and alert and open to God, and whatever he might be up to at any given moment.  It is not an end in itself, but is a necessary means to a beautiful end--union with the God who made us uniquely and loves us dearly.  Spiritual practice is not meant to manipulate, control, or manufacture.  It is merely something that makes space within us and among us, so that when Jesus finally does come up and walk along with us, we will actually be able to recognize him.

Yet somehow, given the demands of this life, it is something that is easily pushed aside.  And when it is, it makes us less and less able to notice the One who walks among us.  That is probably why John Wesley once wrote: "O Begin!  Fix some part of every day for the private exercises.  You may acquire the taste which you have not: what is tedious at first will afterward be pleasant.  Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily.  It is for your life; there is no other way: else you will be a trifler all your days."

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