Welcome to my blog! This is a space where we can ponder together what it means to be transformed into the image of Christ. This transformation is a long journey with many twist and turns but it is one worth taking. If you’d like to know more about how I can come alongside you or your church through the ministries of spiritual formation and direction, please contact me. I’d love to chat.
Here is some of what I’ve been pondering lately:
In the summer of 2015, I had the great privilege of traveling to Guatemala with my cohort from my Master’s program in Spiritual Formation and Leadership through Spring Arbor University. We spent a week there grappling with the relationship between spiritual formation and social justice. On one of our field trips, we went to the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG). AT FAFG, scientists work tirelessly to exhume and identify Guatemalans who were ruthlessly murdered and thrown in mass graves during the Guatemalan civil war. The building is filled with dry bones. One of the verses in Scripture that anchored this trip for us is found in Ezekiel 37:1-14. I was tasked with writing a blog about this day and how these verses impacted me as I walked the halls of dry bones at FAFG. You can check out that blog post here: http://msfl.arbor.edu/2015/07/17/breathing-life-into-dry-bones/.
These verses in Ezekiel 37 have continued to linger with me long after returning to the States. Ezekiel encounters a valley of dry bones, Israelites murdered and thrown into mass graves. All those still alive after the fall of Jerusalem would have had to walk past these bones during their exile to Babylon. In the midst of this horrific tragedy, God calls Ezekiel the prophet to wander around the dry bones. It’s here that Ezekiel and God have a conversation about God’s power over life and death. God re-creates flesh for and breathes life (ruah, Spirit) into these once dead bones. At God’s word, the very breath of God spoken through the prophet, these bones are resurrected. It is a beautiful promise of new life ultimately fulfilled in Jesus, who is the first fruits and pathway to our resurrection into this new life (1 Corinthians 15:20).
As I ponder this breath of God and how it re-animates dead things, I see a beautiful link to formation in Christ. Christian Spiritual Formation is the process of being transformed into the image of Christ. In this process, we cooperate with the Spirit of God who is fashioning us into a people who more naturally allow the life of Christ, His way, to live in and through us. It’s a long process, a slow work that often involves dying so that new life can be breathed into us. In the dying off of our old selfish ways, we become more animated with His Spirit and seed planters of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. We come to more naturally love God and all of His creation. This slow work is a surrender to the Triune God who is represented in Ezekiel 37 and in Jesus….and in us as we let His Spirit do its re-creating work in our lives. For me, this is so much of what spiritual formation is about and why I am so passionate about the ministry. He takes our wounds, the lies we believe, and the masks we wear and gently shows us that they are no longer needed. He invites us to discard them, to die to them so that we can live a life that is a clearer reflection of His image. Are there dry places in your life that need the re-animating, resurrecting breath of God’s Spirit? If so, how will you respond to His invitation to be revived?