After close to eight weeks in quarantine, we have all experienced the highs and lows this sort of “stuck at home” life can bring – if you haven’t watched the Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day, now’s the time.
And, in times like these it is crucial to maintain some kind of “north star” for your life – a lighthouse, a beacon. Something that can hold you steady when the seas of uncertainty get rough.
Fortunately, here at First Church we have already created a platform to stand upon when your sea legs get wobbly. Back in 2017 we began an intentional balance of activities and practices to create balanced healthy discipleship called Healthy Plate Discipleship. And now we’ve translated this life affirming model into an easily accessible, online format. In other words, Healthy Plate has gone digital!
By focusing our eyes and intentions on the curated online choices of our Healthy Plate Discipleship model, you can find the support and strength you need to weather this incomparable time. By scanning this horizon — and your own internal landscape — you can easily focus on the parts of yourself that need strengthening and choose new or reinforce familiar activities and spiritual practices that will help you, wherever you are on your faith journey.
In last week’s The Gathering worship service, Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodrigez reminded us of the importance of focusing on this Healthy Plate mindset during this time of quarantine. “The Healthy Plate Discipleship is like a framework – or structure,” she said, “that tells you exactly what to do to continue living your faith, continue growing in your discipleship, and continue experiencing God.” She also reminded us that right now, especially, flexibility is key. “Online worshipping online is hard, I know it, these screens, and bad signals make it hard to focus. Just hang in there. Your sacred space could be your porch, or a small room, maybe it’s out in a park somewhere, it’s okay.” The reality is, any space can be sacred when we make it so.
The other great news about our Healthy Plate Digital Edition is that all of this content is available to you, online, whenever and wherever you need it. Use it like a lighthouse to keep you on your course, steady in your faith, and growing as a disciple of Jesus.
Depending on where you are in your faith journey, you may find that some of these practices will comfort you, some will challenge you, but all will completely nourish you. Your plate may be too full or too empty, but the most important thing to consider is that you have a well-balanced experience when it comes to your life of faith. Here’s a quick recap of what each item on your Healthy Plate can do for you:
- Worship is an expression of our love and need of God. When the community gathers for worship, God teaches us, draws us closer to one another, transforms our lives, and equips us for the work and mission of the coming week.
- Learning is the intentional pursuit of knowledge and a growing understanding of who God is. Study exposes us to God’s complexity, opens us to new ideas, and can connect us to others with similar ideas and questions.
- Service is giving our time and gifts back to God and the church by putting our faith into action. In service, we turn our hearts toward God’s people and can be transformed by relationships with our church and community.
- Play is good for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Having fun can inspire our imaginations. Play opens us up to friendships that help us bear burdens and celebrate life’s joy.
- Giving is the commitment to put God first in all things. The habit of sacrificial giving of our money and resources allows us to trust God in deeper ways and to share our love with others.
- Prayer and meditation are especially critical in a world where we are all addicted to being busy. Regular prayer and personal disciplines can renew our energy and open us up to the places God is leading us.
As members of FUMCFW, we’ve made a commitment to pursue a devoted life of discipleship. And likewise, FUMCFW has made a commitment to provide you with opportunities for growth toward a Christ-centered life.