N.T. Wright’s second leg of explaining Christian faith is spirituality. The metaphor he uses to describe spirituality in the western culture we live today is a hidden spring bubbling up from a concrete environment where water is piped in from a water treatment plant. The bubbling spring of water eventually finds its way through the concrete and erupts in the city.
Christians, especially in places where we live like Royston, may not fully be able to embrace this metaphor. In the Deep South and Bible belt, we have yet to see our landscape shaped by concrete and skyscrapers. But many of us travel to the larger metropolitan cities and can envision what Dr. Wright is speaking of, a land with no springs. Also, many of us are deeply connected to the hidden spring and understand the mystery of God in nature, the beauty of God in a sunset, and the power of God through a beautiful song. We know the Bible is filled with mysterious challenges that call us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, and join together in fellowship to worship Almighty God. Therefore, we are connected already to the hidden spring and struggle to see what all the fuss is about.
Culture at large however, is searching for the hidden spring we are so easily connected to today. A large portion of our culture doesn’t practice spirituality in any form and as time marches on are becoming more interested in the practice again. Many non-believers today are claiming to be spiritual but not religious. It is a great opportunity for us to share how spirituality was at its inception a religious exercise to God. Looking at a sunset is not simply a spiritual moment; it is a moment of worshipping God. Hearing a beautiful song is not only a spiritual moment; it is a moment to worship Almighty God. Wright says, “People who have been starved of water for a long time will drink anything, even if it is polluted.”
How will we offer the hidden spring of God to those who are thirsty? How can Royston Baptist Church extend our connection to the hidden spring of God in a world that claims it is longing for God and doesn’t even have the language to say it? Where can we take this hidden spring and what is the best bucket we can use to carry it to thirsty people?
On the Journey,
Rev. Jonathan Barlow