Churchy Spiritual Discipline
Published by Ben Smitthimedhin (Admin Account) on Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:22
I've always thought of spiritual discipline as something I should pursue alone. Fasting, praying, Bible reading – these are tasks that require personal devotion and willpower. In my evangelical upbringing, I was taught that my relationship with the Lord was my responsibility. And for the most part, it helped me to consider how important it is to pursue God with my "heart, soul, mind, and strength" (Lk. 10:27).
Many others in the church may feel similarly, especially during this period of Lent, a time of fasting and repentance. Spiritual discipline seems lonely and isolating, especially if it is a secret commitment between you and God. This quarantine may have made things even more difficult, and some of us may have found ourselves giving up initial commitments due to unexpected tides of change.
And yet, it wasn't until I found the Anglican church that I realized spiritual discipline could also be practiced communally. Lent, especially, is a time when the church comes together to discipline herself spiritually, a time set apart in expectation that God would transform her. While my private discipline is important, I found encouragement in knowing that a community of believers was joining me. I didn't have to decide when I should or should not fast. The church has appointed the days specifically for this, and I simply had to trust the process.
It is all the more urgent now that we remain unified as a church body, which is precisely the reason why Christ Church is encouraging her members to fast together, starting this Friday, March 27th.** This is the opportunity for us to discipline ourselves together, to seek the face of God while we are wandering in the desert, while we feel isolated.
As we approach the end of Lent, let us remember that we are, as Addison Hart calls it, a "community of solitaries." Let us pray for one another, encourage one another, and remind one another that there is grace to be found at the end of all of this.
**if you'd like to join the church in the weekly fast, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org