Here are my suggestions to those who ask: “What books have helped you in your spiritual search?”
• Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings by Timothy Lull.
• Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
• Any of the works by Henri Nouwen.
The book of Acts tells us that Paul, near the end of his church-planting duties, ignored the warnings of friendly seers that a return to Jerusalem, like the return of Christ there at the beginning of Holy Week, would lead to his own execution. Yet the apostle, fully aware, strode down the path that he knew God wanted him to travel.
Of course, Paul’s martyrdom was delayed—not occurring in Jerusalem but only later in Rome. Delay, however, only intensifies the inevitable end. Each new Easter proclaims: “Not yet, but soon. Live as though each day is your last.”
One of the ways to learn what a journey of self-sacrifice requires is to seek situations where such activity is necessary and called for.
It’s not happenstance that those seeking a spiritual discipline are frequently advised to live at times among the poor. Lives of poverty, stripped bare of what the rest of us call “necessities,” can teach us the foolishness of clinging to material things.
Early and late saints of the church like Thomas or Mother Teresa should be models for us all. The problem for us Christians this Easter season of 2008 is how to learn enough about these deeply spiritual people so we can, to some extent, emulate them. A simple response is to start reading about them.
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