Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Spirituality of Christian Discipleship

The Great Commission
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20)

Our spirituality is what we do with the spirit that is within us and how we channel our energies. It is what motivates us to live and without it we die. Spirituality is about discipline; the channeling and integrating of that energy in healthy rather than unhealthy ways. Spirituality is very human and not a specifically religious reality. But the goal of a healthy spirituality is to find a way to access our energy as well as the discipline to contain it.
The problem we struggle within our generation is a problem of balance. We have created a society in which we harm ourselves spirituality by making harmful choices. The problem is in the fact that we feel that choices need to be made, such as between ecclesiology and spirituality, when both are necessary for our spiritual health. We allow ourselves to overindulge in excesses in a quest for individuality. We have allowed ourselves to believe that religion is not compatible with spirituality.
In our Christian spirituality there are four universal pillars of the spiritual life. They are private prayer/private morality, commitment to social justice; mellowness of heart and spirit, and community. Using these pillars as his essential starting point, the following sustaining disciplines are suggested: a regular prayer time; the practice of charity and self-sacrifice; concrete involvement with the poor; active participation in the life of some specific church; and vulnerability (mellowing out in the spirit) for the sake of love. We must give up our life of individuality and excesses and take up the mission that Jesus left for us.
The incarnation is the basis for Christian spirituality. The incarnation began with Jesus, but we as Christians continue that incarnation. We are the body of Christ in the world today. This means to live according to the knowledge that Jesus is present to us in the world. He is not just a historical figure; he lives in each one of us today.
We are relational beings and to be spiritually Christian we must live always in relations with God, our neighbor, our world and ourselves, following the example left to us by Jesus. We must be willing to love and serve those around us. We must allow his Spirit to work through us individually and collectively to transform the world so that we may live as the Kingdom of God here on earth. Therefore Christian spirituality is about loving God, but it is also about loving and becoming involved with one another
We display the face of God through our own faces. Our face should radiate the love of God that is given to us and that we must show to one another. That love is not displayed by preaching, it is displayed by a welcoming heart and loving actions. If we say that we are Christian, people will be watching what we do and say. They will take notice of how we live. If our actions are not consistent with who we say we are, and who we say we follow, then we are not being the body of Christ to others. We are accountable to one another and to our community to accept each other as we are. This means we cannot only accept the good qualities of our neighbors, but also accept the bad qualities and forgive the hurts and disappointments that may come from others. We must also learn to forgive ourselves.
Our spirituality as disciples is based upon the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. In the spiritual life, our desire is to establish a relationship with Jesus, constantly live in his presence and model our lives by his example. Therefore, spirituality is not an end in itself; it is a means to find a way to walk in the presence of Jesus, to connect with him and to share him and ourselves with others in community. To be true disciples of Jesus is to follow the mind and heart of Jesus. We do dedicate our life to a love of God, but also a life of love for one another. In this way, through our own faithful discipleship, we help to bring the love of Jesus to others, and foster discipleship where ever we go.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

No comments:

Post a Comment