Theologian Robert Barron argues, at the heart of original sin is the refusal to accept God’s rhythm for us. God gave Adam and Eve enormous freedom in the Garden. Then, without explanation, God set a boundary before them. They were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen.2:15-17). They were to trust and surrender to Him, bowing humbly before His incomprehensible ways. They were to be active, then passive. They were to work, then they were to surrender in trust. They were to be active, and then they were to let go. The essence of being in God’s image is our ability, like God, to stop. We imitate Him by stopping and resting. For this reason, when we stop to practice Sabbath each week, or the Daily Office (fixed hour prayer) each day, we touch something deep within us as image-bearers of God. How are your rhythms today?. Read more.
For the last few years I have approached my vacations as ‘mini-sabbaticals”, seeking to structure my time according to Sabbath principles – Stopping (work), Resting, Delighting and Contemplating God. Part of what this has meant for me the last few years, besides thinking through vacations much more purposefully so that my soil gets fresh nutrients from God through doing holy “nothing”, has been to take a few days alone with the Trappists in St. Joseph’s in Spencer Massachusetts. When this blog is posted, I will be there. Why and what will I be doing? The 60-70 monks, who live as a strict Benedictine community on a 1 by 3 mile plot of land, have taken vows of stability, poverty and conversion of life (celibacy and obedience to the authority of the Abbot). Their lives are so far from contemporary American Christianity that I find my days with them drive me to Jesus, to simplicity, to. Read more.
I am in the process of finishing a Daily Office book that I have been working on since last Fall. It is going to the printer within 2 weeks and I recently made a change in one of the Offices (there are two per day, five days a week for eight weeks and are based on the themes from the workbook/book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality). One final change I made was to replace a devotional from one of the Offices to the one from Leighton’s Ford excellent new book that was recently published: The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things (IVP, 2008). The book is filled with insights and learnings from his 76 years as a follower of Christ. I highly recommend it. He has been a personal mentor of mine for over 25 years. Geri, in fact, is with him now in North Carolina for 4 days on a spiritual mentoring retreat.. Read more.