Session Four examines the question have we only just discovered that the spiritual disciplines are important? Sarah Yardley helps us to answer that and explore in more detail the history of spiritual formation.
Watch this interview with Sarah Yardely, Mission Lead at Creation Fest UK, Canon of Truro Cathedral, and on team at Tubestation. Sarah is also author of MORE > Change, a Bible study book that is packed full of wisdom on navigating change well in a world full of flux.
Spiritual formation is not something that is done in isolation from our real life, from each other, from the truth of scripture or from history. There have been many individuals, of faith, who have gone before us. Hebrews 12: 1-2 says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12: 1-2
Our faith is not isolated from the wider community. Church offers us a big community of an inter-generation of people who, if we let them, can demonstrate and teach us all about the spiritual disciplines such as reading scripture, prayer, serving or engaging thoughtfully with the gifts of the spirit. Through reading we can also engage with a much wider community of believers who hare their knowledge such as George Muller, John Wesley, John Calvin, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis – to name just a few! These are people and leaders who have chased after God for centuries. We can be taught the lessons they learned in the generations before us.
Julian of Norwich, also known as Juliana of Norwich, Dame Julian or Mother Julian, was an English mystic and anchoress (someone who, for religious reasons, withdraws from secular society so as to be able to lead an intensely prayer-oriented life) of the Middle Ages. Her writings, Revelations of Divine Love, are the earliest surviving English language works by a woman. One of the areas she writes about, in terms of spiritual disciplines, is prayer. She writes, ‘In prayer we come to know ourselves and to meet our maker; we rejoice in God’s goodness, we share in God’s life, and we are enfolded in God’s love.’ These words were written almost 900 years ago but still they are just as modern, truthful and relevant today. In these authors who walked with God and were formed through God centuries ago, we have a rich inheritance of learning, from more then just our own generation, to walk with Jesus.
It’s easy to think that in our challenges in life we are the first person to have walked the road but we are reminded through scripture that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. we are told that there will be things that hinder us BUT Jesus is the pioneer who has gone before us – He is the hero of our stories! By using spiritual disciplines we learn how to fix or eyes on Jesus, even in the storms.
Spend some time praying for each other – standing with each other and fixing your eyes on Jesus.