Recently we accidentally discovered a feature on our iPhone (I’m not promoting one phone over another—what I’ve discovered is likely true on whatever device you use—except a landline, you know, the phone that isn’t a computer hanging on a wall). What Teresa and I discovered was a feature that can place an emergency call when one is unable to talk, or perhaps even touch the numbers. It’s a very helpful feature—the downside is that one can activate it unintentionally by accidentally manipulating the device. Nonetheless, having been alerted to this feature, it occurred to me that there is likely a host of features on the iPhone that we haven’t a clue about because, like many, I imagine, we never took the time to explore all the features. We primarily use it for the “typical” uses: phone, text, email, and internet.
That got me thinking about faith issues. It’s probably much the same there. As Christ followers we have a certain set of beliefs about faith: what we’ve been promised, what we gain by faith, how we sustain faith. But I wonder if we’ve “settled” for the “typical” benefits without exploring “features” of faith that are actually available to us, but under, or never utilized because we haven’t invested more time in exploring them.
This is why I’m excited about this current series of messages where we are exploring the spiritual formation of Jesus. Since Jesus lived a fully human life subject to the same conditions and limitations of our humanity, we’re coming to see that the type of spiritual life he cultivated was attained in ways available to him in his humanity alone, and they are likewise available to us in ours. Some of the reasons that our lives don’t match his may be more a matter of our not knowing that these means are available to us, or it may come down to our lack of pursuing all the “features” of our faith. Much like my experience with the phone, we are happy enough to “use” the typical features, but by that we are missing out on a depth and richness of faith that are right before us if we would simply pursue them.
As in most of life, we acquire and are formed by what we attend to. Make no mistake, we are all constantly being formed spiritually. The question is: by what or by whom are we being formed? This week we’ll consider how formation was progressive in the life of Jesus. This progression of faith opened up an ever widening circle of influence and concern for him—it can do the same for us.
Last week we announced the move-in date for our contribution to Vision House/Jacob’s Well. It’s going to happen Saturday, August 29 at 10AM. AND, there is an exciting update from the APNC on our website—check it out! I’m looking forward to our time together on Sunday, and I’ll see you in the Afterword on Zoom after the service!