What is a spiritual practice, or a spiritual discipline? Most people I know would place a spiritual practice within the confines of what you do on a Sunday in church or possibly in your daily prayer session at home. A subset of my friends would also extend it to their activities in feeding the hungry and serving the poor.
One of the most wonderful aspects of Salvationist theology is the theology that has developed around our view on the sacraments. In Salvo-lingo this is called the sacramental life.
The word sacrament comes from the Latin translation of the Bible (Sacramentum) and is the translation for the greek word mysterion used in Col 1.27 “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (NRSV)
The most common understanding of the word sacrament that I have seen, is: An outward sign of an inward grace.
This means in most mainline churches that rituals like baptism, the eucarist etc. are outward symbols/rituals/manifestations of the grace we know in the good news of the gospel.
The Salvation Army then takes this a step further saying, there is no ritual holier than any other moment. Life is a sacrament! Life is an outward sign of an inward grace.
For me this means that the mystery, that Christ is alive in me, means that whatever I do is an outward manifestation/symbol/sign of this truth. So here’s the mystery, the sacrament: I am in god because I am alive in this world and this world is in god, but god is in me through Christ. Listen to this beautiful prayer of Jesus: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Paul says this is the mystery: Christ in me, the hope of glory!
So this means that everytime I:
- Smile, is an outward sign of the Joy inside
- Hug someone, is an outward sign of the love inside
- Forgive someone, is an outward sign of gods grace
- Dance, is an outward sign of the vibrant life I have been given
Or to say all this a different way, borrowing from Rob Bell: Everything is spiritual! There is no divide between what is church and spiritual practice and what is life. Every breath I take is a miracle of life, every thought, every living moment.
So, being alive is my daily spiritual practice, each moment is a holy moment, each person I encounter a holy person, each place I set my foot a holy place. This means that awareness, gratefulness, celebration, prayer becomes part of each moment.
This means that our daily, mundane lives matter! There is a point where we tend to forget about the here and now because we, as Christians are to focused on the there and then. It may be because we have reduced Jesus life to birth, death and resurrection. We miss out on Jesus entire life of breakfasts, walking through the countryside, fellowship with friends, going to childbirths, weddings and funerals.
So here is the point: Being alive each moment is the point! Being alive is my daily spiritual practice!
Life is my religion. Being alive is my daily spiritual practice. Love is my rule. Humankind is my family. Authentic friendships is my church. The kingdom of god runs through my veins. Jesus is my brother. Becoming and being all that I am is my calling. Helping you become and be all that you are is my ministry. My deepest feelings is my guide. All living things are my teacher.