Folks, I want what I do to be for the village… the community… the place where the spiritual unites with the physical.
So, for me, taking classes at George Fox Seminary to get my certificate in spiritual formation is about more than just me. I am doing it because it is what I must do… for the community and for God.
I recently finished my semester paper for my class on prayer and as I wrote it with the community in mind it is important for me to share it here. I will be posting it up in sections over the next week or so. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
To read part 1 GO HERE…
Biblical and Theological Prayer and its place in Christian life (pt 2)
Jesus enters the Jewish scene and gives us a much fuller understanding of the divine mystery who humanity is in search of. Jesus, reveals to us, a God who is willing to enter into the human condition. A God who is willing to serve and die, rather than simply be served and judge. Jesus shows us a God who is willing to suffer on behalf of humanity and whose love is more profound than any could imagine. In his example of how prayer should be, Jesus teaches us that God’s kingdom, his reign, is on earth as it is in heaven. He shows us a God who is willing to forgive and accept into his kingdom those who live in his kingdom way, of love and sacrifice, of unity, forgiveness, and peace. Most importantly, Jesus demonstrates a God who wants so desperately to be in relationship and communion, who wants so much to reveal himself to his image-bearers, that he would enter into our humanity and walk among us, showing us what it looks like to be in perfect union with the divine.
Upon Jesus physical departure from earth, after his resurrection and perfect union as the Christ (the joining of the physical and the spiritual), Jesus’ spiritual presence remained with us in community through the presence of the Holy Spirit. This presence of the divine in us is what makes prayer (in all its aspects of listening, sharing, feeling, asking, praising, pleading, and all that goes with relational communication) so important. Our human journey, as community created in the image of God, is to grow into the likeness of God, the Christ. In and through us, God continues his work of establishing the kingdom, which I call the Village. More fully understanding his nature, we embody his image, and thus carry on the work that Jesus left us with. This is what the mystics call Union.
Prayer is what moves us and directs us on this journey. Paul says we are to pray without ceasing. The ancient Celts of the British Isles would sing, share, and recite their prayers through all their work… from sunrise to sunset. Brother Lawrence practiced the presence of God, doing all his activities in the conscious awareness of God being with him at all times. The early Eastern church would recite the Jesus prayer, a way of synchronizing prayer with breath and our hearts, the two most regular and conscious patterns of our bodies. As we listen, recite, share and plea with a God who truly does want to reveal himself to us, to make himself known to us, to love us… as we pray, the Christian story continually reminds us that God is with us on this journey and gives us deeper levels at which to be in relationship with him and others who bear his image. Union with the divine is possible. Union with each other is there for us to experience. It was Jesus’ prayer for us in John and our dedication and love, empowered by God’s presence in us, will make it reality.