The Way of Jesus
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (St. Paul, Minn.) is a community of people invited by Christ to meet him at his table, in each other, and in our neighbors. As apprentices, we practice following the Way of Jesus as expressed in the Anglican tradition, in the power of the Spirit, so we can participate in God’s healing of ourselves, and the world. We understand Jesus’ Way to embody eight spiritual practices. Whenever a new idea comes up at St. Matthew’s (I am presented with multiple great ideas every week), we can now ask, “how does that relate to the Way of Jesus at St. Matthew’s?” It has given us focus. Because it emerged from the congregation rather than being imposed by the clergy, staff, or the vestry, there is widespread acceptance and engagement. From the beginning we have made it clear that this Way of Jesus is not one more program, but a way of life intended to help us as we live out our faith in the world. Those facilitating gatherings to learn more about each of these spiritual practices make no assumptions that people know what spiritual practices like prayer are, or how to pray. At each gathering we dwell in a scripture text related to the spiritual practice. We ask questions like, what is prayer? Or have you ever had a powerful experience of prayer? We teach people different ways to pray that they can then try out during the week. We also assign simple “homework” like praying for the people you encounter during the day, and people come back the following Sunday to share stories of what happened. Probably most importantly, these gatherings are relatively safe co-learning spaces. Participants can ask any questions or share their struggles and doubts without being shamed, and the format is always facilitated discussion, never a lecture. Please click on the link below for the list of these eight spiritual practices and how we define them and the related practice.