Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CHRISTIAN PRACTICE

The ministry of Jesus is grounded in personal practices.  Jesus' life is marked by prayer, solitude, worship, reflection, the study of Scripture, conversation, community, serving, engagement with suffering, and generosity.  These personal practices sustained a ministry that opened people to God's grace, transformed human heart, and changed the circumstances of people in need.  Jesus modeled going away to quiet places, spending time in the Temple, and listening for God.  Jesus spoke to the woman at the well; the tax collector in the tree; the rich young ruler on the road; the paralyzed man beside the pool; to the lepers and the blind and the widowed and the wealthy; to Mary and Martha and Peter and John.  He held a child in His arms, noticed the woman who touched His robe, healed a soldier's servant, ate with sinners, told stories to Pharisees, and blessed the thief beside Him on the cross.  He intervened to challenge unjust systems that abused vulnerable people, overturning the money changers' tables and dispersing those ready to kill a woman accused of adultery.  He connected people to God, opened their hearts and minds to God's kingdom, invited them to follow in His steps, and set them on a path toward God.  Jesus knitted them into community, interlaced their lives with one another by the Holy Spirit, and wove them into the body of Christ, the church.  By example and story, by lessons and parables, and by inviting them into ministry and sending them out in His name, He taught them to practice and live the ways of God.  Jesus made maturing in faith and growth toward God unexpectedly and irresistibly appealing.

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


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