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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Intentional Engagement

There is a lot of mysticism in the Christian life.  I have personally benefited and benefit from the writings of some of the Christian mystics, Bernard of Clairvaux, St Francis, Brother Lawrence, and others.  Bernard’s hymn “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” is one of my favorites.  Mysticism has given us much in the Church.  Is it the best way to follow Christ?  Does one have to be a mystic to really engage with the Holy Spirit?  Is there any room for the rational use of our minds?  Or is the Christian life the exclusive domain of those who can or have tapped into the mystic vein?
Is mysticism the best way to really know Christ?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Peter seems to give an answer in 1 Peter 1:13.  Look at the three verb forms in this verse and their objects:
  • Prepare your minds
  • Keep sober in spirit
  • Hope completely
The last verb, “hope,” is imperative.  The first two are participles which grammatically derive their mood from the imperative “hope.”  Peter is telling us that we are to choose to intentionally engage our minds.  We are to – the word literally means to gird up the loins of our minds – intentionally prepare to learn.  To take it soberly, seriously.  Finally to hope only in God’s grace.

It is instructive here that Peter says to engage intentionally one’s mind.  The context is interesting as well.  It comes right on the heels of Peter describing the prophet’s intently studying their own prophesies.  It seems like Peter is agreeing with Paul that it is important not only to engage our minds intentionally, but how we think about Christianity is vastly important.

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