Following Jesus like the originals we are.
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Eugene Peterson once wrote to pastors about a paradigm shift in how they see their work and role in the church: “It is as radical vocationally as Ptolemy to Copernicus cosmologically, but with a difference—this is not the formulation of something new but the recovery of something original.” (Under the Unpredictable Plant, p.175).
It is this “something original” that intrigues me; and the apparent need to call clergy, if not all the church, back to the practice of something original. Constitutions and By-Laws can be a gripping read I suppose, but when the Scriptures lay their hands on a person, one is swept up in the continual telling of the Jesus story.
We tend to lose things, this side of Genesis 3. We lost our harmonious community with God, and with one another. We lost our innocence. We lose track of time, we lose our marbles, we lose our minds—the list of important and not-so-important losses goes on. Tragically, we can lose track of Jesus even while we think we are following him.
“This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)
The “ancient paths” of Eden, where God would walk with Adam and Eve, have been restored to us in Jesus. Walk those paths. Walk in community with the Father. Walk the “good way” that is following Jesus. The ancient paths of devotion, prayer, faith and faithfulness provide rest for our souls. We rest in Jesus.
Integral to practicing community with God in Christ Jesus is communing with him in real conversation. Practice his presence in prayer. A relationship of living in close proximity but rarely speaking is not fulfilling. Don’t practice that kind of relationship with the Lord. The ancient paths of Christian devotion are replete with the constant chatter of God’s children, talking with their Father. The ancient paths are deeply rutted by spiritual mothers and fathers who have much to teach us. Walk those paths; know rest for your soul.
Picture and Text Copyright, Don Schatz