Hey everyone. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we are about this Sunday…and the next four months of practice. In the midst of a busy, exhausting, out-of-control world, our community will explore a profoundly counter-cultural path: aligning the rhythms of our lives to God’s Eternal rhythms. We don’t want to “add Jesus to our already crazy lives”, but we want to learn how to tangibly live His unforced rhythms of Grace. Will you join us?
Here is the full story….
After a month of listening and communal discernment (June), a staff retreat (July), and a series of incredibly helpful conversations with many of you in the community (August), we are thrilled to share the direction for this year at The Practice…
RHYTHM: Learning to align our rhythms with God’s Eternal Rhythms, for the sake of the world.
The Creator of the Universe has hard-wired certain rhythms into all of Creation: Six on and one off…inward reflection and outward mission…solitude and community…humble listening and courageous risk…withdrawing and engaging…etc. And Jesus invites us to align our entire lives to these deep rhythms. He calls out to every one of us: “Come to me. Walk with me and work with me, watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of Grace.” (Matt 11)
Like a musician listening for the groove so we can play along.
Like an athlete learning to hear the coach’s voice so we can join the game.
Like a child falling asleep in his mother’s arms, allowing our hearts to sync as one.
Like a disciple, keeping in step with her teacher, breaking ourselves open for the world God desperately loves.
And so this fall, we want to learn how to align with God in four ways…
(1) Present Moment Rhythm – practicing the Presence of Christ
(2) Daily Rhythm – practice the Daily Examen
(3) Weekly Rhythm – keeping The Sabbath
(4) Yearly Rhythm – aligning with the Church Calendar
The month of September will be the VISION and INVITATION to align our lives with God’s eternal rhythms, and a tangible way to help us SELF-ASSESS our current rhythms. In many ways, the first two weeks will frame the entire journey, so please dive in deeply with us.
October and November will lead us into three foundational practices for a life aligned with God: SILENCE, EMBODIED EXAMEN, and SABBATH. Silence helps us hear God’s still small voice and align with God in each moment of our day. The Examen helps us look back upon each day and find God’s fingerprints in the most unlikely places. Sabbath helps us reorder our days into the rhythm God established in Creation: 6 on and 1 off.
In December, we will align with the church calendar and celebrate the season of ADVENT. This will be a very worshipful month as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, and also helpful to give a vision for why the church calendar is so helpful.
And as you can see, we’re thrilled to include three Sundays of “Community Listening” this fall: Oct 11th, Nov 22nd, and Dec 20th. On each one of these nights, we’ll rearrange the chairs into smaller circles and practice communal listening together. Our desire is that these gatherings will (1) Help us to process the journey and carry each other along the way, and (2) Teach us the skills to create transformational community in our relationships, small groups, and whole lives. These nights are really important, and we can’t wait to see how God uses them to form us!
The journey begins this Sunday, September 13th, 6pm, in the Willow Creek chapel.
The Eternal kind of LIFE that Jesus promised is possible. It really is. Even in 2015. Even in the NW Suburbs of Chicago. But it won’t happen accidentally. And none of us can live it alone. Starting this Sunday night, let’s jump in together and see what God wants to unleash in us for the sake of the world.
All are welcome.