Sunday, October 16, 2011

Understanding Spiritual Formation 3: Celebration as a Spiritual Discipline

S.D.Gaede writes in Belonging, "The Christian community derives its being from the fact that certain things are true. If they are not true, we have no reason for community."

We gather weekly to celebrate those truths. A list of the truths we celebrate when we gather might include: grace, redemption, creation, re-creation, etc...

In our celebrations we should be spiritually formed, because we leave as different people then when we arrived. We may be more convinced of those truths, we may be questioning the application of the truths, we may be anticipating our next gathering, we may feel more connected to the truths, we may have a greater sense of identification with the community because of the truths...

What should these kinds of truth-oriented celebrations look like? In no particular order, I would suggest:
  • They should be triumphant -- The greatest truth of all is that good has/will triumph over evil. In the Matrix trilogy, the scene of celebration at Zion gives us a feel for anticipatory triumph. Our celebrations should awaken in us a moving sense of the transcendence of God, and of our anticipation of His ultimate victory.
  • They should be meaningful -- The truths which bind us together should be proclaimed in a relevant way so that our celebration is informed. Some churches are so taken with the celebration itself that it has become disconnected from any meaning... this almost feels like idolatry.
  • They should be participatory -- We are all celebrating, we are all the community. I think of a pep rally for my MSU Spartans. Even though we may all be sitting in rows, we will be extraordinarily participatory. Why don't our celebrations look like pep rallys?
  • They should be reflective -- The truths we celebrate have particular meaning for us. We should constantly be weaving our story into the fabric of the communities truths. This requires honest reflection. We do a great disservice to ourselves when we celebrate without reflection.
So there you have it. Celebration as formative activity. I'd love some feedback, this is still a little heuristic.

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