Browsing the internet recently for resources that address the health of our interior lives, I randomly came across this list of Spiritual Practices intended to cultivate our spiritual well-being. I’ve modified and adapted some for our purposes, but they offer practical things we can do to create openings for God’s Spirit to enter and refresh our spirits. You may be drawn to some more than others, and that’s OK.
Menno Media has been collecting written and recorded pieces from pastors and leaders around the church in the U.S. and Canada, and sharing them as an encouragement during these difficult days. The following reflection is from Jim Lapp of Lititz, PA.
Loving God, we find ourselves asking the meaning of this time that has been thrust upon us. We wonder:
Is it about slowing down?
Is it about becoming more dependent on you?
Is it to stimulate the church to more creativity and resilience in how we practice community?
There’s an old saying that we should never let a good crisis go to waste, meaning that a crisis can be used to improve aspects of our lives—as in our lifestyles, mental and spiritual health, etc. The Easter message certainly invites us to trust God’s power to transform our lives into something better. Our chances of experiencing the COVID-19 crisis and the power of God to transform us will be much greater if we regularly practice a variety of spiritual disciplines. These disciplines help us maintain a vibrant spiritual center (or find a center, if we’ve never had one).
The discovery that we are vulnerable to calamities that we thought only happened in other parts of the world is quite sobering. 9/11 showed us that we are not invincible to terrorism; the 2008 financial crisis reminded us that we can suffer economic meltdowns reminiscent of past eras, like the Great Depression; and health watchers remind us that the coronavirus is not the first health pandemic in the world (ex., the Spanish flu in 1918).
As the Israelites made their way across the desert from Egypt to Canaan, they camped at Rephidim (Exodus 17: 1-7), which was a lousy place to camp (humanly speaking) because there was no water. The situation quickly became a full-blown crisis as the people quarreled with Moses and demanded that he provide water for them. But Moses knew he could not be their errand boy, meeting all their needs and demands. Still, the situation was desperate; death comes fairly quickly in a hot desert if there is no water to drink. Moses also realized that the people were sinking into a numbing spiritual crisis; he asked them, "Why do you test the Lord?" The water crisis was severe, but Israel's lack of trust in God was an even greater crisis.