Rhythms of Grace
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
Rooted in Christ. Growing together in faith. Extending God’s love.
These are the words that jumped out at me when I was first learning about East Zorra Mennonite Church – rooted, growing and extending – that’s this community’s reason for existence.
I assume if you are reading these words that you have some sort of desire or curiosity – however small in living the way of Jesus. Pursuing a life that is deeply soulful, connected to our real needs, and good news to our world.
Yet, a common challenge we face is how do we do this?
One danger is that the desire for spiritual growth or draw closer to God is to pursue a long list of “to do’s”. A sense that we earn God’s approval or love if we do enough of the right thing. Eventually this causes us to grow weary and burn out. Church and faith becomes one more performance tread mill we run on.
A second danger is that after two years of pandemic we have simply fallen out of practice and habit. We’ve forgotten how.
But as Jesus’s words remind us – life with him is meant to be anything but burdensome, it’s meant to give life, joy, purpose and meaning. We don’t need to go on a far off pilgrimage or have some revelatory vision to experience God, or complete a series of tasks. Rather, it is in the fabric of ordinary life with ordinary people that we learn the rhythms of God’s grace and meet Jesus.
The path to being rooted in Christ, growing and faith and extending God’s love is one that is easy to find: if we want to experience the kingdom of God we simply should get together and try to do the things that Jesus asked his disciples to do. That’s what church is all about. It’s here we learn to experiment together how to apply the teachings of Jesus to the details of life, imitating the faith of those who went before us who trusted that the same power that rose Jesus from the grave is at work giving us the ability to do so.
So, over the course of the next few months I would like to offer you experiments in grace. Small practices in ordinary life to help you become rooted in Christ, grow in faith and extend God’s love.
The first experiment is a simple one: for the next two Sundays, leave your phone in the car or at home when you come to Church. Ask: What did I learn about presence by disconnecting for a morning?
The best thing about an experiment is that even if we fail – we still learn something.
Let me know what you discover!