Tuesday, April 11, 2017

From Strength to Strength...What is Your Sacred Pathway?

Dear Friends,

This Holy Week I am spending much time in the Gospels following the footsteps of Jesus as He went to the cross for you and for me, and as He rose from the grave in victory.  I am struck by the apparent regularity of Jesus’ choice of places to “be”, not only with His own, but also with His Father in prayer.

After sharing that last beautiful Passover meal with His disciples, John tells us:  “When He had finished praying, Jesus left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.  On the other side there was an olive grove (the garden of Gethsemane), and He and His disciples went into it.  Now Judas, who betrayed Him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.”    John 18: 1-2
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives and His disciples followed Him.”  Luke 22:39

As I pondered this, I remembered a powerful “read” that had highlighted the importance of recognizing our particular choices of “sacred space” when we do seek the heart of God.  In “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas, the author explores nine spiritual temperaments that essentially are predispositions that we have in relating to God.
Naturalists prefer the outdoors desiring to leave buildings and books behind in their desire to seek God in nature.  They are conscious of Jesus by the Galilee, looking up at Zacchaeus who had climbed the sycamore tree and picturing Jesus healing the man born blind by the pool of Siloam.

Sensates delight in loving God through their five senses, escaping into magnificent worship or art.  These are thresholds to effective inroads to their hearts.

Traditionalists love God through ritual and symbol and structure.  Liturgy is the path to greater “depth and texture” in their walk with the Lord.

Ascetics love God in solitude and simplicity, desiring very little more than to be left alone in His Presence and to seek Him through prayer.

Activists love God through confrontation and desire more than anything to stand against evil and actively participate in experiences that will call sinners to repentance.
Caregivers love God by loving others.  They experience His Presence in feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and caring for the diseased.
Enthusiasts love God to the fullest with celebration and desire to know, experience, feel and be moved by strong concepts of their Lord.

Contemplatives love God through adoration, content to be at the feet of Jesus like Mary of Bethany.

Intellectuals love God with their mind and passionately desire to study and share concepts, being fed by the gifts of receiving new insights into the Heart of God.
Most of us are combinations of these basic pathways.  One way to determine your primary bent is to list Christians whom you most admire and seek to emulate.  This will give you a clue as to your wiring.  Another way is to read the book and answer the little six-question survey identifying each type.  It really is quite fascinating.
Dear friend, why might this be important?
Jesus told the lawyer: “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself“  Luke 10:27.   Understanding your personalized sacred pathway will not only spur you on to break out of a spiritual rut, but also it will help you to find your own personal “sacred space” to love Him fully.
Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening He went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives”  Luke 21:37.  
Resources for Going Deeper:
​​"Sacred Pathways, Discover Your Soul's Path to God" by Gary Thomas

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