Southpoint News February 18, 2017
“This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask where for the ancient path, where the good way is. Walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16
There is a way of living that allows life to flourish, and there is a way of living that causes life to be diminished. In the course of our day, we make a thousand small choices, taking a course of action that will either enhance or diminish life, whether it be our own life, or the lives of those around us. What causes you to flourish? What causes your life to be diminished? Most of our behavior, however, is habitual. We simply follow the pathways that we have walked before. How important it is, then, to consider the paths we are walking. Are we following paths that enhance our life, or are we following paths that diminish life? Where are the ancient paths, the good paths that lead to life? How have I wandered off those paths? How can I redirect my feet back onto a path of flourishing?
During the weeks leading up to Easter, we will be pausing to consider the paths we travel using the four verbs found in Jeremiah 6:16:
STOP We will practice stopping, pausing long enough to become self-aware, paying attention to our habits of thoughts, emotions, and actions.
LOOK As we pause, we will watch for how they help us flourish and how they diminish our life, watching for a deepening of gratitude or a deepening of despair. We will watch not only our own flourishing and diminishing, but how we affect the flourishing and diminishing of others.
ASK We will ask God to show us those ancient paths, those good paths, that allow life to flourish in us, and around us.
WALK Our intention is that by the end of Lent, we will have a clearer idea of how we need to redirect our feet so that we can walk the path of resurrection, a path of flourishing and renewed life.
Let me introduce you to a tool for spiritual growth, the Enneagram, that will help us become more self-aware. The Enneagram identifies 9 universal cravings of the human heart: The desire to be perfect or right, the desire to be loved, the desire to be successful, the desire to be unique and special, the desire to be knowledgeable, the desire to be secure, the desire to experience pleasure and avoid pain, the desire to be empowered and strong, and the desire for peace. These are good desires. When we are in right relationship to these desires, when our desires are being grounded in God and guided by Spirit, they lead us into paths of life. As long as we are in right relationship with these desires, they are wise guides. But when our identity becomes enmeshed with these desires, when our desires become disordered, or when we try to fill them in a counterfeit way, our feet begin to walk down paths that don’t lead to life. Then they become our slave masters. This is why the enneagram pairs these core desires with nine expressions of sin, nine ways in which these desires lead to a diminishment of life.
When this happens, we need to stop, look, and ask for that better way, that good and ancient path that will lead us back to life. The nine statements in the beatitudes pair up nicely with the nine desires and sins. These beatitudes offer us a beautiful corrective. They point us in new directions, into new habits of thought, emotion, and practice. They help us regain our foothold on the path that leads to life.
OUR LENTEN PRACTICE
For the 9 weeks leading up to Easter, we are going to explore one of the 9 desires, along with its companion sin and companion beatitude. My intention is to give us space to stand still and observe how we are living life, noticing with the Spirit’s help the desires that are driving us and the habits that these desires are forming in us. We will pay attention to what effect these patterns are having on us and those around us. We can be transparent and trusting in this process, because we know we are loved dearly by God. God has deep compassion on our disordered souls. Jesus comes to shed light into our lives, not to condemn us, but to show us the ancient way that will bring rest to our souls.
February 19th @ 11:15 SUNDAY SERVICE, Speaker: Anne Smith
February 22nd @ 7pm MUSIC JAM at Neufelds
February 24th @ 6 pm YOUTH GROUP, Hubbard Home
February 26 @ 11:15 SUNDAY SERVICE, All In
March 1st @7 pm AGM @ Sunnyside Church
Prayers and Community News
February 26 All In- Everyone is Invited to a Soup lunch after the service. Bring nibbles to share!
Love little ones and desire to see them grow in God? We are in need of another teacher for our Sprouts (3-6 year olds) class! Please talk to Jen Hubbard if you think this might be a good fit for you.
You are invited to a music jam on Wednesday February 22 – 7 pm. Worship leaders are going to come with new music to learn together. We’d love to have the opportunity to make music together more as well as learn some new songs so – bring your voice, your instrument and come on down to Kingfisher Farm, we’ll meet at the Neufeld’s. Everyone is invited! (RSVP Please)