I recently was blessed with a new vehicle; a black, four door, hard-top Jeep Wrangler. It is fun to drive and pretty styling. With it came an owner’s manual and even a DVD / Software pack to teach me various aspects about the Jeep. Within those documents was a maintenance schedule for: oil changes; tire rotation; tune-ups; etc. Following the schedule will keep the Jeep running at maximized efficiency. There are lots of things, tasks we perform to keep things working. My computer, iPad, and phone often need software updates to make them optimal. The list could go on with air conditioning filters, smoke detector batteries, strings for my guitar and more.
It calls to mind in the same way, my spiritual life needs regular maintenance. I need to tend my life with the things that will help me grow in love and faith. The church word for this is piety, the practice of spiritual disciplines. For me there are the basics; prayer, worship, devotion; bible study and learning; service and mission; fellowship. For me to be running at full spiritual optimization these are essential day by day. I have to tend my new jeep day by day with fuel; checking the gauges etc.
From time to time I will need to take the Jeep in for regular service (oil changes, tune-ups and if something stops working to get it fixed) I have come to find in my spiritual life there are times when I need to pull away from this world and intentionally enter a retreat. My life goes in the “shop” for a tune-up. I just returned from a week in a hermitage in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. It is a glorious space and has become a place where I connect, learn, grow, dream, discover and decide. This piety is essential for my spiritual health and I tend to do this twice a year.
This enforces a principal in life – I could phrase it a few ways. Simply put, you cannot give away what you do not have. For me to be most effective in mission and ministry I need to have a vibrant, growing faith to share with others. Jesus lived this way. Jesus said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) If Jesus lived in Central Florida he would have brought the disciples to Canterbury.
I invite you to come and see Canterbury, pull off the heavy trafficked highways of life and enter a sacred space. There is a specific opportunity for a 22 hour retreat coming December 4th and 5th in a Dangerous Prayer Retreat (http://canterburyretreat.org/dangerous-prayer-2/ ) As we move toward the holiday season get your life tuned-up and prepare yourself to greet the afresh the Savior, Infant King!