Practicing Becoming Like Jesus in the Workplace

Being in the marketplace is a gift to see how God is shaping and working who you and I are becoming. Most of our becoming is happening in the daily grind.

Our mindset and resolve to be like Jesus requires desire and duty. Desire is birthed out of our intimacy with Jesus. Duty is sustained by grace.

One practice that is helping me stay focused on who I am becoming is to pray in the morning, midday, and afternoon. I was eating lunch with a group of employee friends and someone made a comment about the scripture I was reading. We ended up talking about how we eat three times a day and I responded by saying that humans don’t live by bread alone, but by the very words of God.

Here’s an excerpt from a book of prayers that I read each day:

“Lord, my God, King of heaven and of earth, for this day please direct and sanctify, set right and govern my heart and my body, my sentiments, my words and my actions in conformity with Your law and Your commandments. Thus I shall be able to attain salvation and deliverance, in time and in eternity, by Your help, O Savior of the world, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.”

Tickle, Phyllis. The Divine Hours (Volume Two): Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (p. 75). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
link: amazon

By midday, some of us are wondering who is really Lord. Is it my manager, the company owner, the stock market? Whose really in charge? Can I, in the middle of my work day, say, “Lord, MY God and King”. Imagine what that prayer does to our hearts and minds you just got into a conflict with a coworker or your project isn’t flowing you planned it.

These written prayers, inspired by the Psalms and the Bible, help give me language to pray. They also fill my heart and imagination to see how God is at work in my life.

If you haven’t heard, God cares about the workplace, the tasks, and the people. In fact, God longs to redeem and renew each aspect of the workplace.

I’m glad you went to church on Sunday. But it’s Monday and the worshipful response now starts. It starts with simple prayers, meditation, listening, and being mindful of God’s presence shaping and forming you to become like Jesus.

John Ortberg: On Spiritual Formation Hates

Mostly, I hate how much this list has described me and how slow of learning am I.  Be careful not to get on the bandwagon of the “next thing” without seeing how current or previous language or practices have led to this next thing.

Dennys bible study or lectio divina…it’s all the same.

 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2013/april-online-only/seven-things-i-hate-about-spiritual-formation.html

Homily – The Shepherd

Readings:  1 Peter 5:1-4, Psalm 23, Matthew 16:13-19

In today’s readings, the ongoing theme tying each passage is Shepherd.  Peter and King David are key figures, with Jesus as the Chief Shepherd.  It’s beautiful how our faith tradition has put together passages like this so that we might see the coherence throughout the biblical narrative.  Two men–King David and Peter–experience God not as an angry, petulant image, but as a loving shepherd who guides and leads us.  These two figures were shaped and formed by the rod and staff, learning to become as their shepherd.  In later years, both figures became shepherds of flocks, attending to them and caring for them, not out of obligation but out of willing hearts.

During this lent season, I reminded of the need to be shepherded.  I need to be guided, led, healed, fed, and restored.  I am prone to deceive myself, become lax in my devotion to God, and to think more highly of myself than I ought to.

When do I sense God’s rod and staff comforting me?  In prayer, scripture reading, and spiritual community.  No matter how out of control the world (or my inner world) seems, in these disciplines, I find how God desires to be near so that He might heal, mend, guide, discipline, or gift us as He sees fit.

I see a difference in my devotion when I engage in rod/staff disciplines.  I’m not “problem-less”, as if I don’t have difficulties BECAUSE I enact these disciplines.  But I do feel more grounded and sober in mind and heart.  The Shepherd helps me to focus, rest, and trust.

May we experience the rod/staff of disciplined love of God today.

Ronald Rolheiser on Spirituality and the Seasons of Our Lives

RON ROLHEISER, OMI Speaker, Columnist and Author

SPIRITUALITY AND THE SEASONS OF OUR LIVES

2010-08-22

As a young man, Nikos Kazantzakis, the famous Greek writer, contemplated becoming a monk and once spent a summer touring monasteries. Years later, writing on the experience, he recounts a marvelous conversation he had with an elderly monk, Fr. Makarios.

At one point, he asked the old monk: “Do you still wrestle with the devil, Father Makarios?” The old priest sighed and replied: “Not any longer, my child. I have grown old now, and he has grown old with me. He doesn’t have the strength. … I wrestle with God.” “With God!”  Kazantzakis exclaimed in astonishment. “And you hope to win?”   “I hope to lose, my child,” the old man replied, “My bones remain with me still, and they continue to resist.”

Among other things, this story highlights the fact that our spiritual struggles change as we age and go through life. The struggles of youth are not necessarily the struggles of mid-life and beyond. Maturity is developmental. Different things are asked of us as we move through life. This is also true for spirituality and discipleship.

How does our spiritual life change and demand new things from us as we grow?

Drawing upon the insights of John of the Cross, I would submit that there are three fundamental stages to our spiritual lives, three levels of discipleship:

The first level, which John of the Cross calls the dark night of the senses, might aptly be called Essential Discipleship. In essence, this is the struggle to get our lives together. This struggle begins really at birth but becomes more our own individual struggle when we reach puberty and begin to be driven by powerful inner forces to separate ourselves from our families so as to create a life and a home of our own. During this time we struggle to find ourselves, to get our lives together, to create a new home for ourselves. This can take years and might never be achieved. Indeed, for most everyone, some elements of this struggle will continue throughout their entire lifetime.

But, for most people, there comes a time when this is essentially achieved, when there is a sense of being at home again, when the major questions of life are no longer: Who am I? What will I do with my life? Who loves me? Who will marry me? Where should I live? What should I do?  At some point, most of us find a place beyond these questions:  We have a home, a career, a marriage partner or some peace without one, a vocation, a meaning, a good reason to get up every morning, and a place to return to at night. We have found our way home again.

We then enter the second level of discipleship which John of the Cross calls Proficiency and which we might call Generative Discipleship. In essence, this is the struggle to give our lives away. Our main concern now is not so much about what to do with our lives but how to give them away so as to make the world a better place. These are our generative years and they are meant to stretch from the time we land in a vocation, a career, and a home, until our retirement years.  And our major questions during these years need to be altruistic ones: How do I give myself over more generously and more purely? How do I remain faithful? How do I sustain myself in my commitments? How do I give my life away?

But those are not yet the ultimate questions: At some point, if we are blessed with health and life beyond retirement, a still deeper question begins to arise in us, one which invites us to a third stage of discipleship. As Henri Nouwen puts it: At a certain point in our lives the question is no longer: “What can I still do so that my life makes a contribution?” But: “How can I now live so that when I die my death will be an optimal blessing to my family, the church, and the world?”

John of the Cross calls this stage the dark night of the spirit. We might call it, Radical Discipleship because at this stage we are not so much struggling with how to give our lives away but with how to give our deaths away. Our question now becomes: How do live the last years of my life so that when I die my death will bless my loved ones just as my life once did?  How do I live out my remaining years so that when I die “blood and water” will, metaphorically, flow from my dead body as they once flowed from Jesus’ dead body?

Too little within our spiritualities challenges us to look at this last stage of life: How do we die for others? However, as Goethe puts it in his poem, The Holy Longing, life itself will eventually force us to contemplate whether or not we want to become “insane for the light”.