Listenings: Co-operation With God

This is a good point to remind ourselves that the “Listenings” post is envisioned to be a mini-school of Christian formation.  We have based nearly all of our previous meditations in this section on Evelyn Underhill’s The Spiritual Life.  We do this because of the excellence of her insights, and also to provide the classic formation model of common reading.

Believe it or not, everything we have said so far establishes the first of two major principles in the Christian spiritual life:  communion with God.  We have explored communion from many vantage points.  I hope these meditations have enabled you to dwell deeper in God. In my tradition this is called holiness of heart.

Now, we turn to the second principle:  co-operation with God.  In my tradition this is called holiness of life.  Underhill puts it this way, “More is required of those who wake up to reality, than the passive adoration of God or intimate communion with God.  These responses, great as they are, do not cover the purpose of our creation” (p. 84).

If you are following the daily Journey in the Word posts, you are in a position to immediately recognize what Underhill means.  We are in the part of Genesis where God has created male and female in the image of God and entered into deep communion with them.  But their creation is also for the purpose of stewardship and sacred work.  Adam and Even do not only “lounge” in the garden, they “labor” in it.

And so, we begin our exploration of the second major dimension of our spiritual formation: co-operation with God.  This is not only a sacred responsibility; it is a holy privilege.  The God of all creation has invited us to become co-creators in the grand story of creating, redeeming, and sustaining.  What could be greater or more wonderful than to be engaged in the work of God?


About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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