Saturday, March 28, 2015

LENT - Spiritual Cross-Fit

There has never been only one way to run the faith-race. In fact, it might be helpful to think of the early Church as the first intentional attempt at spiritual "cross-training."

Cross-training is the concept that gets gymnasts lifting weights, football players taking ballet and skiers skating down highways. Professional coaches have long used the principles of cross-training - but it has only recently grown in popularity among casual athletes, largely because sneaker manufacturers finally discovered this wholly untapped market for a new line of expensive footwear - "cross-trainers."

But the early Church was practicing spiritual cross-training from its inception. For the benefit of all, present and future generations alike, there was the commitment to teaching. For the benefit of each other, there were the constantly flexed arms of fellowship. For the benefit of bonding the body and spirit, there was the tradition of breaking bread together. For the benefit of strengthening separate souls within a communal family environment, there was prayer.

This vigorous workout did for the early church what arduous cross-training is supposed to do for athletes - get them off to a running start with explosive power. With energy and endurance these new Christians built a reputation for the church as a community so spiritually fit that today we still look at it with wistful amazement.