Thursday, August 23, 2018

Journeying Through This Season

We have experienced life on earth long enough to understand that there are seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. The physical cycle of life demonstrates change. Many people love to capture this transition visually by traveling to the mountains and watching the leaves of the trees change color. Naturally speaking we know seasons change, but I want us to recognize that just as nature changes around us the same happens to us as it relates to the seasons of our lives, more particularly along the Christian pilgrimage. 
     The Christian Church has seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and the Season after Pentecost. These divisions/changes lead the Church through the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each cycle of seasons moves us deeper into God’s heart--whole and abundant life for all. The Christian year marks time as a gift demonstrating what God has done for us by grace. 
      As we journey through life we too go through seasons or stages. Currently, parents, students, and teachers are in a back to school season of life that contains within itself other, deeper experiences. Others of us are in a season of loss/grief over the death of a loved one. Others are in a season of engagement, or divorce. Some are experiencing life in a new or remodeled home post-hurricane, Irma, some still waiting on repairs, on and on the seasons change...The good news is that we don’t travel through life alone or unintentionally. By grace, God journeys with us on our pilgrimage toward wholeness in Christ making each season of life meaningful. 
     Where am I? Where are you? The classical pilgrimage toward wholeness is characterized by four stages/movements of God’s grace (these can be viewed as the overall journey toward wholeness or as incremental stages. We’re very familiar with Prevenient, Justifying, Sanctifying, and Perfecting grace but let’s take another look): Awakening- Encounter with God and true self, it’s coming to the realization of who God is. Emotionally, this stage/season is both comforting and threatening. Next, Purgation- Renunciation of blatant sins and willful disobedience, unconscious sins and omissions, the deep-seated structures of being and behavior, leading to trust. Illumination- Total consecration to God in love where God is experienced within and there’s an integration of being with a life devoted to unceasing prayer and increased concern for others. Finally, Union-A depth of relationship with God where one is completely abandoned to God’s grace and transformed for the sake of others.  
     There is no life outside of God. No matter what season of life you are in, wherever you are on the Christian pilgrimage, God is with you. Surely goodness and mercy follow. Allow God’s grace to move you into the community of faith for support, discipline, and mission-a wholeness in Christ for others.
In God’s ever-changing, ever pursuing grace

pic from