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Friday 30 August 2019 – The Spiritual Life

Colossians 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2  To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. 3  In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4  for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5  because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6  that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. 7  This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8  and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit. 9  For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10  so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11  May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12  giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13  He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

This letter encourages its readers to “lead lives worthy of the Lord”.  Such lives “bear fruit in every good work”, and evidence growth “in the knowledge of God”.  All too often people want to separate these, with some seeking spiritual knowledge as an end in itself, and others pursuing fruitful lives as a priority over spiritual exercises. Put bluntly: some choose prayer, others choose action.  The letter above does not support this. It is clear that spiritual growth and fruitful living are but two sides of the same coin.

The invitation is to discover that truly fruitful lives draw their energy from the spiritual nurture of God.  It is the Spirit of God that sustain a passion for justice, mercy and service.

“The real spiritual life must be horizontal as well as vertical: spread more and more as well as aspire more and more.”

Evelyn Underhill — The Spiritual Life

Ordinary 18 / Pentecost +11

40 God’s Abundant Provision

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 249.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)