“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ ” (John 5:6)
Focusing on personal spiritual discipline, Craig R. Dykstra says, “Christian practices are not activities we do to make something spiritual happen in our lives. Nor are they duties we undertake to be obedient to God. Rather, they are patterns of communal action that create openings in our lives where the grace, mercy, and presence of God may be made known to us. They are places where the power of God is experienced. In the end, these are not ultimately our practices but forms of participation in the practice of God” (http://www.practicingourfaith.org).
What Dykstra suggests about personal practices rings true also for practices of congregations. Practices shape us. Practices help us participate in God’s work. Practices are the “doings,” not just the good intentions, the thinking and theory and hoping and planning that occupy our minds and hearts.
Challenge: Adopt a personal practice of Christian discipleship that creates an opening for God’s mercy, grace, and presence to enter in, such as a weekly study with others or a daily time of prayer or reading.