February 26, 2016

How To Get A Spiritual Life (Lent 3)

A long time ago when I said something that annoyed my Daughter she told me to “Get a life”. This was actually a common expression in the 90s. It suggests that someone is just not getting it. They are not aware of what is really going on around them. It is a challenge to think and ‘smarten up – appropriate for the Brownies and Guides in church today for “Thinking Day”. The Bible Readings challenge us to think about our lives and get a better life – a spiritual life. Our parents give us a biological or physical life. God wants’ to give us a spiritual life – an emotional life based on being in a personal love-relationship with God. This spiritual life guides (are the Guides listening?) us, protects us and comforts us in this life – and is what we take to Heaven when we die. It is what we call our eternal spiritual life of love joy and peace.

1. Isaiah Reading (55.1-9) is an invitation to get a spiritual life

Isaiah was a prophet who lived in Israel (actually Judea) around 775-675 years before Jesus was born. He probably did not live to be 100 – but taught his students to listen to God and continue writing down what God was saying to the Hebrew People.
  • His prophecy warned the Hebrews to come back into relationship with God, they refused, God stopped protecting them, defeated in 586 and they were taken to Babylon (Iraq)
  • During 40 years captivity they repented the rebellion, decided to come back into right relationship with God – a Covenant
  • Reading is a prophecy after they returned in 538 telling them how to come into relationship and “Get a spiritual life”:
  •  Warned to seek God, ask for forgiveness and come into covenant relationship - Christian Baptism renounce evil
  • End rebellion, give up destructive way of life – evil deeds
  • God promises to bless them with new life, be respected
 2. Paul in 65 is teaching Corinthians how to get a spiritual life
Paul had spent his whole life seeking God and was a senior Teacher of the Hebrew Faith. Set out to persecute Christians as heretics, had a dramatic experience of the Risen Jesus and became the most famous convert and teacher of Christianity after Jesus.
  • Travelled by boat and foot  from Israel to Turkey and Greece
  • Have seen the ruins of Christian Churches Paul founded
  • Warning the Christian Church in Corinth (Greece) that some were doing evil things and could lose their spiritual life
  • Idolatry – love of money, popularity, drink – more than God
  • Sexual immorality – not keeping marriage promises of loyalty
  • Gluttony – eating and drinking too much
  • Grumbling against Church leadership, God’s Commandments
  • Reminded them to regain spiritual life by turning to God
  • Assures them God will forgive them and restore spiritual life
 3. Story of a fruit tree teaches us how to a get a spiritual life
It is a parable – special story with important teaching. The tree is not producing any fruit. Some people are like a tree. The owner (God) wants to cut it down- let them die. The Gardiner (Jesus or the Holy Spirit) asks for a temporary extension of life to see if they will respond to Jesus work. Jesus will do two things:
1.    Dig around our roots – loosen us up, get our attention, allow the air (Holy Spirit) to get to our roots and give us life
2.    Fertilize or feed us with what we need to get a spiritual life – knowledge and experience of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit from Bible reading, prayer and serving others

These Readings teach us all how to develop a deeper spiritual life of love, joy and peace with God:

  • Think about our life regularly to make sure we have not rebelled and separated ourselves emotionally from God
  • If we have, to ask for forgiveness – Confession & Absolution
  • Seek a better spiritual life by developing a regular time of home Bible reading and prayer
  • Attending a church regularly where we get good teaching and experience real Christian fellowship
  • Ask Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to Guide us and teach us

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