This morning begins a 4-week series on practicing our faith. Practice is a central piece of our mission statement here at St Luke. For those who may not know our mission statement is quite
Practice is a discipline, not unlike any other practice in our life, whether it’s golf,
After a dramatic religious conversion, young soldier Nicholas Herman decided to devote his life to following God and learning more about Christ. He joined a monastery and took the name Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection.
His greatest desire was to reciprocate the love he felt from God by serving God. When he joined the monastery he probably held grand illusions of what the monastic spiritual life would look like, in nature, in chapel, through chants, but what he found was that to be with God also meant finding God’s presence in the ordinary and the mundane, like the dishes which he was assigned to each day.
our sanctification does not depend as much on changing our activities as it does on doing them for God rather than
The most effective way Brother Lawrence had for communicating with God was to simply do his ordinary work. He did this obediently, out of a pure love of God, purifying it as much as was humanly possible. He believed it was a serious mistake to think of our prayer time as being different from any other. Our actions should unite us with God when we are involved in our daily activities, just as our prayers unite us with him in our quiet devotions” (24).
Spiritual disciplines are whatever practices lead us toward God and away from ourselves. That is what is remarkable about the title of Brother Lawrence’s book; you open it expecting to read all about prayer, solitude, fasting, etc. Instead, you read about doing the dishes. He gets us away from looking at our outward actions and points us to the heart. We don’t do spiritual things, we are spirit-filled or we are not. 
Our world is turning. Literally but also metaphorically, all the time. And we see it around us, as people are thirsting for meaning in a world that appears increasingly violent, disconnected, and simply less kind. The spiritual, not religious crowd is rejecting organized religion because of what they perceive to be intolerant judgmental positions that they feel contribute to the problem rather than help. And I don't disagree depending on the particular church or area or in some cases whole denominations. But regardless, there is a cultural desire for more than social media, more than shopping sprees, more than work. People are searching for wisdom, meaning, and connection. Religious people are vulnerable to wanting deeper connection as well, even Pastors long for more, which is why I’m here this morning advocating for a practice of it, not just a belief in it.
BBT whose book An Altar in the World has been changing
Many years ago now, a wise old priest invited me to come and speak at his church in Alabama. “What do you want me to talk about?” I asked him.
That’s all I’m trying to do these four Sundays.
She continues that the answer she gave all those years ago are not the same answer I would give
Each chapter is a different kind of practice that offers no promises, but rather offers trust. Trust- that in doing something the body will enlighten the soul.
In a world of too much information about almost everything, bodily practices can prove great relief. To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for
My hope is that in reading these practices, you will recognize some of the altars in this world-ordinary looking places where human beings have met and may continue to meet up with the divine “More” that they sometimes call God….Wherever you are, you live in the world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it. So welcome to your own priesthood, practiced at the altar of your own life. The good news is that you have everything you need to begin.
BBT offers 12 chapters, each one a different kind of practice. And each one includes things as ordinary as eating, singing, walking
Testimony is often more valuable than teaching. So here’s what I’ve learned; scripture teaches us so much, but its also so easy to get caught up in our head which is why so much of what makes a meaningful practice begins with childlike curiosity.
I suppose that's how my call into ministry really began. When Dave
The astronomer thinks about this for a minute and then responds-Twinkle Twinkle little Star how I wonder what you are… and the Theologian answers-Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so...
So if you’re looking for “more” begin here...
Approach this altar in the world as a child. Enter into the kingdom by practicing curiosity and trust, fascination and openness. There is nothing in this life that separates the Holy from the mundane, the spiritual from the physical or the body from the soul. Our lives are miracles and to wake up each day as the psalmist did when he wrote the psalm you heard this morning is perhaps the best place to begin. With gratitude and reverence for a God who gifts us life itself….A God who as my mother says, desires nothing more than to be in a relationship with you…A God who knows every hair on your head, your thoughts, all of them, the good and the ugly and who loves you for both, a God you can't escape….because he's within you and all around you in everyone and everything you encounter….And our faith, our practice, is to return that love with our presence, our awareness, our ability to stand before each God-given moment, in the beauty and in the pain, and thank God for it, by being fully present to it.
The first chapter of this book is the practice of waking up to God. In the Jewish tradition, there is a prayer of gratitude from the moment you wake up. Thank you, God, for my ability to open my eyes, to see or to hear that which I’m waking to. For the feet that hit the ground, allowing me to stand, for the ability to walk to the bathroom, for the first pee and bowel movement, there is nothing we do that isn't in some way a gift.
God is the Inescapable God. There is nothing we do that is separate from God’s presence. So here’s your homework; this evening, or the next time you do the dishes, instead of dreading it as a chore, instead of seeing it as something to get through, embrace it as something you will do for God. And with soapy dishwater running down over your hands and wrists that still work, remember that water as living water, the water that runs over the plate you eat off of, is the same water that nurtures your body in thirst. It’s the same water that was draped over your head into baptism and a life lived in Christ. The water you touch and the water you drink, and the water you bathe in is the same water that unites us with God. Everything we