Two Key Movements in the Life of Faith
Ever wonder what God is up to in your life? I certainly do. It is a question that is relevant not only for those who are new to faith. Even people who have been walking their faith journey for multiple decades also have times when they wonder: “Just what is God up to in my life at the moment?
As I prepare to enter my 50th year of faith journeying I still ask these questions of myself and of God when I am unsure or searching. But I would like to share with you two Key insights or Movements I have noticed over the years that help me focus on what God might be doing with me. These key movements are less likely to give you the answer but they offer are insightful ways to explore and search out clues to what God is doing in you.
The first is this, “what is touching your heart?” We all have issues or themes that touch our hearts, but what is present now that nudges you? What has caught your attention and made you feel. What ache or joy has presented itself to your awareness? Where in that experience do you think God is active?
This movement is geared toward moving us away from our “Thinking” Selves to open us up to our feeling or “Intuitive” Selves. Some of us are newer and more tentative about this kind of knowing but the faith journey often invites us to explore ourselves in this way. Sometimes we talk about this movement as a shift from “Head” to “Heart.” Learning to allow God to speak to our hearts and what our hearts feel or where they have been touch is relevant to our faith walking because, when God draws near, often our hearts with yearn and burn within us. (Luke 24:31-32).
The Second Movement I have learned to watch for is a movement from myself and my concerns to an awareness and connection or concern for a neighbor, another person. Yes, this is a movement away from self (as in self-centered or selfish) but more importantly, we often experience it as having a new situation or a new person come into the sphere of our lives and living. Sometimes this is someone who might need you or a gift you have and sometimes it turns out that this is someone you benefit from interacting with or learning from. Actually, both can be true at the same time (a great sign that God is present). Another way to say it is: God’s does work through people and our interactions with one another – even though this is often not on our radar or we discount or fail to see it (Matthew 25:31-46).
Sometimes friendships or marriage will do this for us… move us to put the needs of others before ourselves. Indeed, friendship and marriage are places where God is happy to work when we open ourselves to it. Yet, there are many other kinds of connections and encounters where God’s activity can be seen in human interaction (Acts 8:26 ff).
You might have noticed that these two movements in the journey of faith also match well with the two tables of the 10 Commandments (the first three** dealing with our relationship with God and the last Seven** dealing with our relationship with people in our lives). Jesus says it this way: The most important Commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength and the Second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). These movements directly relate to growing closer to God and being more available to care for our neighbors in ways that are just.
In these Sundays after Epiphany, we focus on the discovery and enlightenment that come when God’s love and mercy come into our lives. So, I hope learning to watch for these two Key Movements in the faith journey will help us find the Light of Christ in your life these days and that you too may follow that “star” to discover the joy of God who is birthed into our lives in a way that bring us hope and joy.
Yes, “We too have a star to follow”. Peace and Joy to you in these days after Epiphany.
** There are two numbering systems used these days to identify each of the ten commandments. For the purposes of this discussion I have used the numbering system used by Martin Luther in his Small Catechism.