"God walks in our midst, searches for us, and beckons for us to walk with him [sic]."
~ Rev. Adam Hamilton, The Walk
In his book The Walk, Rev. Adam Hamilton tells the story in the introduction about a time he and his wife, LaVon, went hiking with their adult daughter, Rebecca, in the Catskill mountains of New York. Not 10 minutes into the walk, Hamilton had to sit down because he was so out of shape!
Soon after this experience, Hamilton went to see his doctor, who informed him that his weight was up and his blood work revealed some troubling signs. Through incorporating more exercise into his life—at first, just 7 minutes a day, which progressively increased—combined with healthy eating, he steadily improved his health over the course of the following year. The next time he and LaVon went hiking with their daughter, she asked her dad to slow down because he was walking too fast!
Hamilton compares developing our spirituality to that of developing our physical bodies. A few simple habits incorporated over time with a regular degree of frequency can dramatically change the richness of our relationship with God and overall depth of our faith.
This Lent, we're going to be thinking about how incorporating the following five spiritual habits will better equip us both individually and corporately as a church to walk with God and each other on a daily basis. I share below the five spiritual habits we'll be reflecting upon, as well as in parentheses the date on which the particular habit will be featured in worship:
In 2020, after Hamilton launched The Walk sermon series and book,, he and the leadership of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (COR) announced to the congregation that the pursuit of these five habits would be an ongoing priority for the congregation. Hamilton plans repeatedly each year to find ways to preach/teach about these five habits, and to incorporate them in several creative ways into the life of the church, such as small groups, outreach opportunities, and educational programs. COR's vision is that, as the congregation as a whole grows in its practice of these five habits, the vibrancy and impact of the congregation will increase as a whole.
Inspired by COR's example, North Shore UMC's Church Council elected to incorporate the development and practice of these five habits as a priority in its new 5-year vision statement, which the Council is presently close to finalizing as a part of its strategic planning process. I'm excited this coming Lent to share these five habits with the whole congregation, as well as to interweave a continual focus on them throughout the full breadth of our congregation's ministries and programming. As an aside, once the Council's vision statement is complete, we will be certain to share it with the whole congregation. Perhaps the timing will work out that it will be ready to share this Lent!
Should you wish to read along with me as I preach through these five habits this Lent, feel free to pick up a copy of The Walk from either Cokesbury (better deal) or Amazon. Deacon Barb and I are also planning on using some or all of the Wednesday evening Lenten Dinners (now, "ZOOM Dinners!"), to reflect in a small group context on particular chapters of the book. Please keep an eye out via the eNews and bulletin for the Lenten Dinner schedule and what we will be doing each evening.
I invite you and your family to join me in preparing your minds, bodies, and souls for this coming Lenten season and our rich reflections on these five transformational spiritual habits.
Grace & peace,
Scott S. Himel, Senior Pastor