Monday, August 8, 2016

Streams

"...God's Spirit is upon me; he has chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, "This is God's year to act!" Luke 4:18&19a

We experienced this rushing Swat River in *Malala's* backyard in the Swat Valley, Pakistan. It soon joins the muddy Kabul River to blend into the emerald-colored mighty Indus River as it makes its way to the Indian Ocean.

I've been re-reading 'Streams of Living Water: Essential Practices from the Six Great Traditions of Christian Faith' by Richard Foster. The Contemplative--Discovering the Prayer-Filled Life, Holiness--Discovering the Virtuous Life, Charismatic--Discovering the Spirit-Empowered Life, Social Justice--Discovering the Compassionate Life, Evangelical--Discovering the Word-Centred Life, and Incarnational--Discovering the Sacramental Life. Each Chapter begins with a chart of Christians followed by their powerful stories, reflecting God's love and glory. At the top of each list is Jesus--the forerunner. "The astonishing new reality in this mighty flow of the Spirit is how sovereignly God is bringing together streams of life that have been isolated from one another for a very long time." p. xv.

Susana Wesley is listed as one who reflected the Incarnational Tradition. She raised and home-schooled her 10 children. Two sons, Charles and John Wesley were among the most effective evangelists who ever lived. When the spiritual needs of parishioners were not met by an assistant while her pastor husband traveled, she started "our Society" in her kitchen. "Susana prayed, Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not confined to the church or closet, nor exercised only in prayer and meditation but everywhere I am in your presence." p. 237. 

An elder of a church said "In this church we focus on the social gospel." He wanted the humanitarian, not spiritual. He may have been influenced negatively by churches who give invitations to receive Christ by simply repeating a prayer--the 'sinner's prayer', with minimal follow-up.

My family was down 724 feet beneath the earth's surface in Jewel Cave, South Dakota. The multi-colored gems that glistened in the lights were amazing. From the layout of the cave, we could see it would take a long time to explore the cave. Likewise, responding to an invitation to follow Jesus opens up a lifetime of getting to know Jesus...getting to know God. It's often the first step to be freed from addictions or other dead-end attractions and to submit to Jesus.

On Sunday we sang the song "More About Jesus":

More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.


As in Jesus' day, there are many people with significant problems. Like Jesus, I want to reach out to Muslims who are physically, emotionally, and spiritually needy. In doing so, there may be similarities to how present and past saints who displayed one or more of the 6 Traditions ministered. At the end of the day I want to point to a miracle-working God...to Jesus, the Saviour who understands Muslims fully and is waiting for them. 

Lord, you have sent us on a mission--to be your hands, feet, and mouth. Help me to continue your work on earth. Amen.