Saturday, January 26, 2008

Life in the Light of the Gospel

I recently received my "Weekly Seeds" Bible study resource from the UCC, and in the middle of the commentary, the question is posed: What would happen if we approached every decision in our lives by shining the light of the gospel on it?

Though I just skimmed through the rest of the commentary at the time, that question stuck with me. And I even took it a step further: what would happen if I approached every aspect of my life by doing the same? Now, let me just say that this is not simply a "What Would Jesus Do" thing. This is a chance to read through the Gospels, look at not only what Jesus said and did, but what those around him said and did, and then think about how my life reflects that.

I don't claim to know the Gospels so well that I can easily quote any part of them, but I would think that if I were intentional about it, I could look at my life through the light of the gospel from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell back to sleep that evening.

The commentary probes whether we fit our faith to suit our lives rather than making our lives fit our faith committment, and also addresses whether we should feel "comfortable" when following God/Jesus. Unfortunately, I can tick off a few ways I bend to comfort, rather than gospel, in just my first hour of consciousness in the morning.

In realizing that, I realize that this task of shining the light of the gospel on all aspects of my life could get overwhelming and tedious. So over the next few days or weeks that I reflect on this question, I'll do so in small doses. I'll take just that first hour to shine a light on my coffee, my shower, the clothing I put on. Then maybe I'll shine a light on my decision to start my day with prayer or not, to exercise or not, to eat breakfast or not (and if so, what am I eating?). And so on.

I have no illusions that I'll get to a day lived perfectly in the gospel. But awareness is a powerful thing. The best I can hope from my experiment is that I am more aware of the choice between following God/Jesus and an ordinary, comfortable existence, and a reminder that this choice is often not as big as dropping the nets and leaving our lives behind (although, take it from someone who knows, sometimes they are, and we'd best be prepared for those too!). I think I'll also probably discover that one can live quite happily and in comfort while following the gospel, with a little change of perspective.

I'll keep you updated on my progess, and if you decide to conduct a similar experiment in your own life--or segment of your life--or have already done so, please share!

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