Luke on My Mind #4
I like to call it "practicing the kingdom of God." With deference to Brother Lawrence, I like this language in addition to "practicing the presence of God." But there is overlapping meaning, I think.
What I call "practicing the kingdom of God" is what James A. Harding called the "means of grace," that is, the communal/individual habits of piety we find in Acts 2:42. They are: listening to God (the apostle's teaching), sharing with the poor (fellowship), gathering in the presence of God (breaking bread), and prayers. Indeed, these were daily habits in the early church--the apostles taught daily in the temple, the church ministered daily to the widows, the church met in their homes to break bread daily, and they went to the daily prayers in the temple.
But I call them "practicing the kingdom of God" because I don't think these habits have independent or autonomous status. They are not "new laws" from the mountaintop of Pentecost. Rather, they are the continuation of the ministry of Jesus. Jesus himself taught daily in the temple, fellowshiped with the poor, broke bread and ate at tables with people, and prayed habitually. The early church, as a group and as individuals, is imitating Jesus--following Jesus and doing the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus heralded the "good news of the kingdom" and practiced the kingdom. The church continues the same--we hearld the good news and practice the kingdom habits through which God breaks into the world to transform it and us.
More on these habits to come.