Starter Prayer: God of all things, keep me on my toes. Give me an open and courageous spirit to learn fresh wisdom from a variety of loving people– those living on earth today and those who lived before me. Thank you for the community of saints and my place in Christ’s family. Amen
Focus Word: Diversity
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:1-7
Optional Read-along: Water, Wind, Earth and Fire pp. 9b-10-a (Introduction section: Contemplative, Ascetic, and Prophetic Responses.)
Have you heard about “diversifying your portfolio?” The phrase refers to financial investments and the importance of having a variety such that your financial position grows in a healthy and balanced way.
It’s odd how “diversity” has a good name in finance and is controversial in religion. How many religions value diversity in beliefs and practices? (Mine does!) Sadly, religion has a reputation for resisting and even sabotaging diversity.
Today we reflect on the value of diversity in the faith community as well as the faith practices of an individual. This summer journey will call upon you to learn and try new things– to diversify your portfolio of prayer practices and even your ways of seeing God and the world.
In her short essay, Contemplative, Ascetic, and Prophetic Responses, Christine Valters Paintner explains three orientations for a wholistic spirituality that cherishes our place in creation. 1.) The contemplative orientation is an invitation to stand in awe, to meditate deeply, to slow down and pay attention. 2.) The ascetic orientation is an invitation to live with less, to simplify and to cultivate a lifestyle that limits consumption, waste and pollution. 3.) And the prophetic orientation invites us to consider the health and vitality of the environment as a justice issue and a responsibility of Christ’s family.
For most American Christians, all three of these spiritual theologies are somewhat foreign. This journey will focus on the contemplative and touch on the ascetic and prophetic.
For practice today, reflect on the ways that the natural world influences your connection with God and your Christian faith. Do you value habits of contemplation: solitude, meditation and silence? Do you and your family choose behaviors that limit consumption and waste? How do you feel about the environment as a justice issue to which you are personally called? Which of these three spiritualities is most developed in your life? Which is most appealing to you? Which, if any, is distasteful or suspicious to you?
Feel no pressure to do anything with your awareness today other than be aware! And don’t forget your daily dose of water, wind, earth and fire! Today, I’m celebrating the breeze and the gift of shade.
Be encouraged in your practice, Katie Martinez
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This daily devotion is part of the Summer Growth Journey: Learning to Pray with Nature with Crossroads Church. Many of us are also reading through Water, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements by Christine Valters Paintner. To purchase a copy, or for more information, email us at [email protected].