Power of Practice (Sermon Notes)


Your body is not just a suitcase that carries your soul around.

Your body is not an automated shell that your brain tells what to do like a computer inside a robot.

Your body informs your experience and shapes your behavior.

 Much of what you think, or even believe, about the world is because of the interactions of your body.

 

Here is the audio podcast of this sermon: (13 min)    http://vermonthillsumc.org/podcast/power-of-practice-sermon/

This is why what you do with your body matters. Your behaviors and routines inform and form you. They give shape to your day and thus your week and ultimately your life.

Annie Dillard has said it this way,

“How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.”

 

To the outside world, I appear spontaneous and even impulsive. But that internal permission in rooted in long hours of discipline and practice that frees my up to be spontaneous in the moment. The behind the scenes preparation is rooted in a deep commitment to values and practices. I move the chairs in the sanctuary every week – because I have been thinking for months about what that gathering should look like!

Your daily routine functions in a similar way. Your weekly patters both form and inform you as people of faith.

The life of faith is comprised (made from) your participation in a community of faith.

 

This is the liturgy of life.

 

One of my favorite old-words is “phronesis”. I have talked about it before – it means embodied wisdom or enacted knowledge. It is a wisdom that you have down inside of you, embedded in the cells and muscles of your body.

If you do an activity, even if you have not done it in a while – like riding a bike again – there is set of “know-how” that has been formed through practice.

This is the case with playing a musical instrument, or caring for a child, or playing a sport, or doing a hobby.

My favorite example is teaching a teenager how to drive.  Now you, if you have been driving a while, can day dream, change the channel (and all sort of other things) and still end up at your destination … sometimes not even thinking about it on the primary register of your brain. That is phronesis – the way home is embedded in your muscle memory.

Teenagers do not have phronesis. Everything is happening on that primary register at the front of your mind! Hands at 10 & 2, turn on the lights, shoulder check, shift into reverse, etc.

 

This is the power of practice. You are moving an activity, an expertise, a knowledge down from the front of your mind into your body. Routine and practice go hand in hand.

The liturgies of our lives shape who we are and both form and inform our view of the world.

The book that we are reading “Liturgy of the Ordinary” encourages us to be intentional about our mornings. Instead of slogging through and mindlessly stumbling our way to the kitchen or the shower – to add a moment of intentional pause and prepare for the day.

I want to encourage you try it. To change up the routine this week. Whether that is her suggestion to make the bed and take a moment of silence (prayer) first thing in the morning, or to read something nourishing in the morning before your check your phone or turn on cable news …

 

Like I said at the beginning: Your body is not just a suitcase that carries your soul around.

Your body is not an automated shell that your brain tells what to do like a computer inside a robot.

Your body informs your experience and shapes your behavior.

 Much of what you think, or even believe, about the world is because of the interactions of your body.

This is why what you do with your body matters. Your behaviors and routines inform and form you. They give shape to your day and thus your week and ultimately your life … especially your life of faith.

[youtube id=”NPKnTpSi_Lc”]

1 Comment

  1. I love this combo of intellectual insight with faith and encouragement! Thank you! Also, the unknown known is such an exciting idea to engage with. Great segment!

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *