PRACTICES: Pilgrimative responses of a Jesus follower.
In Coastal we are following Jesus by cultivating sustainable faith Practices that are communal + tangible + contemplative + experimental = thereby, forming us into pilgrims who love God, each other, ourselves, and the world.
Jesus calls disoriented, everyday people to "repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand" and then, to become oriented or redirected pilgrims when they, "Come, follow me..." Later in the Gospel of Matthew (7v24), the crowds are reminded by Jesus, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." In St. Luke's narrative, Jesus beckons us that, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (9v23). To use a different metaphor about following after Jesus, the apostle John goes all gardener-like on his readers by using imagery of vines, branches and producing fruit when we "abide in Christ." In his compelling letters, St. Paul reminds his readers that it is our destiny to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8v29) and to become imitators of Christ just as Paul imitated Christ. Lastly, in 1 John 2:6, "This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."
Through daily practices and seasonal rhythms, in Coastal, we are becoming grounded in the love of God, responsive to the Spirit, and growing in our devotion to Jesus. We are on-goingly following Jesus. This means that we not only hear sermons about the Gospel, believe in creeds about God, ask Jesus to dwell in our hearts as Savior but, we also embody the Good News in both word and deed. This means we will actually become apprentices of Jesus and contextually practice like Jesus and his followers practiced. In this way, we are joining with God in the redemption of our own hearts and in the restoration of all of creation.
Practices are ongoing pilgrim responses to the person, mission, and work of Jesus. They are not salvation or spiritual brownie points to earn our salvation. Rather, they are like a holy inheritance or even like standing under a shower of God's grace. They are an invitation to follow in the Way of Jesus which means, we actually attempt to DO what Jesus and his disciples did. Practices encourage us to imitate Jesus and become apprentices in his workshop called LIFE.
In Coastal, we refer to Practices as: tools, disciplines, exercises, rhythms, habits, therapies, postures, maneuvers, and mile-markers in the Way of Jesus.
Practices are like...
Tools in that they are used to shape us into the image of Jesus, build us into the Body of Christ, and form us into agents of reconciliation
Disciplines in that they are an effort to create space for us to pay attention to God's Loving Voice, pay attention to each other, and pay attention to our particular place
Exercises in that they are strengthening our muscles to run the race with perseverance
Rhythms in that they are movements in step with the tune of the Spirit and the beat of the seasons
Habits in that they are ongoing, regular and repeated
Therapies in that they invite us into the healing presence of the Risen Christ
an inward Posture of receiving God's love and an outward Posture of extending God's love
Maneuvers in that they become natural and instinctive
Mile-markers in that they remind us pilgrims where we have been and help reorient us along life' s path
Below are 10 Coastal Categories of Spiritual Practices: 1.Scripture Meditation: Memorization, Exegesis, Hagah (meditative-chewing on the Word) 2.Solitude & Silence: The Daily Examen, Journaling, Retreats 3.School of Prayer: Psalms, Jesus Creed (The Shema of Jesus), Lord’s Prayer, The Jesus Prayer, Intercessory 4.Sabbath & Sabbatical: Sit & Stay Experiments 5.Service: Acts of Justice 6.Small Groups: Pockets 7.Sacrificial Giving: Simplicity, Tithes & Offering 8.Self Denial: Fasting 9.Sacred Journey: Pilgrimages 10.Spiritual Direction: Mentoring
We encourage individual pilgrims, families, and groups to PRACTICE following in the Way of Jesus. To further journey with us on this caravan of faith, join with us in our COMMON COASTAL COVENANT for 2015-2016.
Bottom line: Practices are a lifestyle of following Jesus as our Guide and a way of embodying the Gospel in our everyday locations.
SPIRITUAL PRACTICES COULD BE CALLED LIFE PRACTICES OR HUMANE PRACTICES, BECAUSE THEY HELP US PRACTICE BEING ALIVE, AND HUMANELY SO.
SPIRITUAL PRACTICES ARE ABOUT LIFE, ABOUT TRAINING OURSELVES TO BECOME THE KINDS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE EYES AND ACTUALLY SEE, AND WHO HAVE EARS AND ACTUALLY HEAR, AND SO EXPERIENCE...NOT JUST SURVIVAL BUT LIFE.
SPIRITUAL PRACTICES ARE WAYS OF BECOMING AWAKE AND STAYING AWAKE TO GOD. - B. Mclaren
Coastal Community Church P.O. Box 1701 - Portland, Maine 04104 | 207.885.5820 | email@example.com :: following Jesus together ::