Think of it this way, expressive spiritual practices are activities or ways we express our faith, hope and love in our world.
Essence of the Practice
Here is a list of what might be included in the Expressive Spiritual Practices:
- Compassion -- feeling what others feel, extending mercy and help in extravagantly practical ways.
- Control of the Tongue -- turning the destructive way of words into authentic, loving, and healing words.
- Humility -- becoming like Jesus in his willingness to choose the hidden way of love rather than the way of power.
- Truth Telling -- living an authentically truthful life by speaking in a way that does not exaggerate, minimize, deny, rationalize or manage the truth.
- Justice -- loving others by seeking their good, protection, gain, and fair treatment.
- Stewardship -- living as a steward of God's resources in all areas of life -- knowing that everything belongs to God.
- Care of the Earth -- the practice of honoring the creator by loving, nurturing and stewarding his creation.
(Spiritual Discipline Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun)
As I write this list I wonder how, if ever, I can live up to this standard. Then I remember it's not a standard or a list, it's a result or by-product of being connected to Christ.
Jesus says in John 15:5, Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
It is through this living relationship with Jesus we can live as expressions of our faith in our world. In the illustration Jesus is using in John 15, God is described the gardener. I imagine it this way, my responsibility is to tend to my "soil" or soul so that God can work in and through me.
Making It Your Own:
How do I do this? I need be in scripture. I need to take time to process and journal my journey with God. I need a few trusted friends to process what we are finding and what God is doing in our souls. I need to be part of community of followers and participate in worship. I need to be stretched and fed by other followers and leaders. I need to spend time in nature and enjoy God's creation. I need to see the ocean and be at the beach at least once a year. (Okay, so I don't need to, I just love smelling the salty air, feeling the breeze off the water, curling my toes in the sand, and disconnecting from the list of things I have to accomplish when I am at home. Sorry, I'm missing the beach. :) )
When I keep my soul well cared for, my life is increasingly more expressive of God's heart. I begin to care more deeply about those things God cares deeply about.
Questions To Consider or BLOG about:
What do you do to tend to your soul?
How are you doing expressing your faith in your world?
Of the list above, which one or two do you desire to grow in?