Practices: What We Do Throughout the Week
August 5th, 2013 | John Chandler
Practices are what it looks like for Austin Mustard Seed to be the church, not just on Sunday, but Monday-Saturday.
The gospel is for everyone. How the church represents the gospel depends on the culture that surrounds a particular church. Every church must develop its practices: specific actions that stand with the best part of culture or contrast the worst. Last night, we discussed three practices that we hope will shape the life of Austin Mustard Seed.
Austin has somehow become one of the busiest, most stressful places to live. Recapturing the idea of Sabbath, time dedicated to rest, is a healthy way to contrast the culture. Eugene Peterson describes Sabbath as a time to “pray and play.”
Sabbath means quit. Stop. Take a break. Cool it. The word itself has nothing devout or holy in it. It is a word about time, denoting our non use of it, what we usually call wasting time….The two biblical reasons for sabbath-keeping develop into parallel sabbath activities of praying and playing…
What is it like to pray? To play? Puritan Sabbaths that eliminated play were a disaster. Secular Sabbaths that eliminate prayer are worse. Sabbath-keeping involves both playing and praying. The activities are alike enough to share the same day and different enough to require each other for a complementary wholeness. (Working the Angles)
Throwing parties for friends is nice, and in some ways, easy. Hospitality means making space for “the other.” Henri Nouwen says that
…the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. (Reaching Out)
Austin is a city where people come to try to live out their dreams. This harmonizes well with the practice of Vocation. According to Thomas Merton,
Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.
We hope you’ll join us Wednesday at noon at EZs to discuss this more!