Looking for some practical ways to build your hope and spur you on in love and good deeds? Here are some ideas to grow in discipleship together, even while we’re apart.
For many Australians, the usual ways of gathering as church communities have changed. Whether we’re streaming services online, or not yet able to share a cuppa and shake hands after the service, the spiritual rhythms we’re familiar with have been interrupted. As Andrew Gardener (p X) shares, we’re reminded at this time not to rely solely on the church for our personal growth, but have the opportunity to take responsibility for the flourishing of our spiritual lives. Spending more time at home is also a great opportunity to take stock of habits around consumption, waste and care for creation. This is a spiritual practice too, as God has called us to be good stewards of all that he has made.
If you’re finding yourself with more time on your hands, be intentional about what – or who – is filling that time. Theologian Willie James Jennings says, ‘The crucial matter today for Christian discipleship is not what you practice but who you practice with… Whose stories, voices, wisdom, authority guidance are missing when we gather? Who is not present in giving shape to our prayers and praise, our advocacy and proclamation?’ As you reach for a new book or podcast series to get stuck into, here are some suggestions that feature a wide range of faithful voices from different ethnicities and experiences:
‘Restriction’, ‘distancing’ and ‘lockdown’ have become part of our everyday language, and still for many Australians, our everyday experience. While it can feel like we are held back from reaching out to others, as disciples of Jesus we can take our inspiration from Hebrews 10:24-25: ‘Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on.’ (The Message). As our world faces a crisis together, there are also unique opportunities for us to love our global neighbours through prayer and action.