Saint Patrick's Church Schola

Lenten 2006 Class -- Classical Spiritual Disciplines

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

This coming Sunday is the beginning of the Advent season. Advent is the first season in the Christian calendar. The Christian year is a means Christian's have developed by which we may sanctify time and make the calendar a means of spiritual formation.

Advent is a season of preparation. It is sometimes called a mini Lent. It comes before Christmas and serves as a way of anticipating the birth of Christ (his incarnation) and Christ's second coming (the completion of the redemptive work launched at his birth). In Advent we prepare ourselves to meet Christ afresh as Savior and Lord.

I encourage each of us to commit to intentional reflection and preparation during the Advent season. One way is to a set of Advent devotions. Another is to make a home Advent wreath. Maybe a special discipline of almsgiving (giving to the poor) or maybe days of fasting (no meats or no fancy foods) as a way of remembering the poverty of our Lord's birth.

May our Advent be blessed as we prepare the way for the Lord.

Peace, Peter+

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The "how to be a serving community" discussion is going well. Let's keep it going if we can.

Peter+

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Monday, November 24, 2003

A few weeks ago St. Pat's had a teaching/discussion about being a serving community. We shared some initial thoughts about how to do that.

Let's have an online chat/brainstorm session about this question: What are some specific ways we can be a community that serves our neighbors, city, region, world?

Share your ideas by posting in the Shout Out below (just click it and you will know what to do). Let's be creative together.

PS - You don't have to be a St. Pattite to post - we would love any helpful suggestions!!

Peace, Peter+

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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Missional Community, Part 3 . . .
Part of the genius of the Wesleyan missional movement in 18th century England was the manner in which it gave concrete targets for people to aim for as they grew in discipleship. What follows are the marks of a missionary disciple. The goal of these marks is not to say all that can be said about discipleship. Instead, they are designed to give the key elements that should be built into our lives so we can know when we are living as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.

Blessings, Peter+


WHAT ARE THE MARKS OF A MISSIONARY DISCIPLE?

CONVERSION

Have I been baptized?
Do I believe the creed?
Is Jesus Christ my Lord?

WORSHIP
Do I worship God weekly in Word and Sacrament?
Am I seeking to honor God in all arenas of life?

COMMUNITY
Am I in a group with at least one other where we help each other follow Jesus and grow as disciples?
Do I use my gifts to serve the Church?

FORMATION
Is my objective to grow into Christlikeness in all arenas of life?
Am I practicing the things that enable me to grow into Christlikeness?

MISSION
Am I loving and serving my world?
Am I witness for Jesus in my circle of influence?

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Thursday, November 06, 2003

Missional Community, Pt. 2

Our community is named for Saint Patrick. The reason is that we want to look to him and the story of the mission to the Irish and other Celts as a guide and inspiration to our ministry.

There are are many qualities of the Celtic mission, but five emerge that shape us.

Missional The Celtic Church was missional. It saw itself as existing in a missionary context. Ireland was not Christendom, it was the mission field. Because of this, the Celtic Churches were mission stations. It also means that the kind of disciples formed were missionary disciples. Not discipleship so "I" can have a better life because of Christ, but discipleship so "I "can be on mission for the Kingdom.

Catholic By this we do not mean Roman Catholic or "papist." The Celtic movement was catholic in that it sought to communicate the ancient faith delivered by the apostles and preserved in the life of the patristic churches. It also means that the Celtic churches centered their life around worship in Word and Table.

Relational The Celtic Church was primarily people rather program driven. This was a witness to the warring and violent Celtic tribespeople that they could have a new life of peace. It was also the arena and crucible of spiritual formation.

Hospitable Making room was a central feature of ancient Celtic church life. The monastic communiteis they formed were open to anyone - Christian and non-Christian. It was in the context of their alternative communities that people explored the faith and entered the journey toward faith and discipleship.

Holistic All of life was the arena of God's presence and work. This shaped both Celtic piety and mission. Every act of the day, even the mundane, were offered to God in prayer. Mission was not just about evangelism. For example, under Patrick (a former slave) slavery was virtually eradicated among the Irish.

We are dreaming that these five qualities will characterize our community as well.

Peace, Peter+

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Monday, November 03, 2003

Saint Pat's had its first Holy Communion on Sunday morning. It was great to share the body and blood of our Lord with this emerging community.

Sunday's message was about evangelism. My goal was to begin the process of "cleaning up" the word evangelism. I mentioned three things a community needs to grow into to become a people God uses to draw others to faith: we need to have God's heart for the disconnected (cf. Luke 15), we need to lead question posing lives - i.e., be the real deal and witness through our transformed lives, and we need to make room for persons who do not follow Christ. There is more of course, so we are planning a seminar on November 15 to interact about the nuts and bolts of living a redemptive lifestyle.

The next two weeks we will develop two of the themes of Sunday's message. Next week we will examine what it means to be a serving community. The week after we will look at what it means to be hospitible. I am excited because Trudi Matthews (my wife) will teach that morning. Trudi is a self-described "hospitality mavin" and has an emerging interest in the life of Saint Brigid as a model for holy living. I think it will be great. (I am bit biased, but that's okay!)

Peace, Peter+

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