Article written by Dr. Carol C. Fisher, Pastor New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Middletown, DE
“The Christian is an instrument played by the Holy Spirit. The aim of spiritual discipline is to keep this instrument in tune.”
– Thomas Merton When it comes to the topic of spirituality, most of us would agree that our spiritual lives leave something to be desired. We talk about wanting a more meaningful relationship with God, and we dream about things we could do to make that happen, but too often, that’s where it ends; we don’t carry through on our dreams.
A meaningful spiritual life takes work. That’s why we call those things we do to deepen our “spiritual disciplines.” We need to be intentional about making time and space for God in our lives – to create an environment that nurtures this relationship. If we follow Thomas Merton’s Analogy and we are able to see ourselves as instruments played by the Holy Spirit, then we must ask ourselves: Are our instruments in tune? What might we do to allow the Spirit to play us even more beautifully, in ways that truly honor God?
Are we actively striving to encounter God and mold our lives into the likeness of Jesus Christ? Or, have we put our instruments in the corner and allowed dust to collect on them? Is our faith just another component of our lives which competes with so many others and often gets short-changed? If this is the case, then I encourage you to make a commitment to refresh your spiritual life. Use the upcoming summer months to consider some new possibilities and commit yourself to start these disciplines in the fall.
There are many ways that you can do this. You can have a regular individual devotional and prayer time. You can come to one of the Christian Education Classes we offer at church and join your brothers and sisters in Christ as we learn more about God and yourselves, and encourage each other to grow spiritually. You can worship every week, = coming with an open mind and spirit to what God is Saying to you, through me or others leading the service (including the music). We can create Sabbath time in our lives when we do things to renew ourselves. Thomas Merton continues, “Spiritual disciplines are like the tightening of a violin string…what we must do is bring the stings of the delicate instrument, which is our whole being, to the exact pitch which the Holy Spirit desires of us, in order that the Spirit may produce in us the exquisite melody of divine love we were created to sign…”
Friends, is your instrument in tune? Remember, instruments don’t tune themselves. If yours needs a tuning, commit yourself to it, make a plan, and stick to it. And when the going gets tough and you’re tempted to give up, draw on the strength of your church family to encourage and support you. Perhaps you could join with another to hold each other accountable to faithful discipleship. That’s what the Body of Christ is supposed to do for one another. May it be so for you and for me that God might be pleased with us.