Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Call for Spiritual Formation (8)

Paragraph Five

Spiritual formation is, by its very nature, missional. As we are formed into the likeness of Christ, we increasingly share God’s infinitely tender love for others. We deepen in our compassion for the poor, the broken, and the lost. We ache and pray and labor for others in a new way, a selfless way, a joy‐filled way. Our hearts are enlarged toward all people and toward all of creation.

There have been in recent years an expanded understanding of mission as not only sending out certain people to share the good news but also that the whole church is by its nature, according to theologian Darrell Guder (1998) is “God’s called and sent people.” The term missional is used to describe this expanded understanding of mission. In other words, God’s purpose is not just to call a people for himself but also in order that these people may become his instruments for his purpose of redeeming his fallen created order.

Christian spiritual formation is missional in that the process of growing into Christlikeness in communties of faith will deepen our compassion and love for others and lead to active involvement in the world. It will mean sharing the good news, helping the poor and sick, defending the oppressed, fighting injustice and healing the earth. Christian spiritual formation is the process of transforming and equipping us to discern where is God working in this world, and to align our lives to the achievement of God’s purposes. We become partakers of the missio Dei; the mission of God.

In summary, Christian spiritual formation enables us to become part of the larger purpose of God. It is not individualistic in forming just an I-and-Thou relationship with God, nor is it to form an exclusive community of faith where only certain people are admitted. It is not about us. It is all about God. It is about God’s purpose for the world.


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