Spiritual Training Cycle: Connection (wk. 6/13)
Seven ankle rotations clockwise, seven ankle rotations counterclockwise. And like that, class begins. We call it bottom’s up, and for over nine years I’ve started every CrossFit class I coach the same way. With the exact same warm-up. Trunk rotations, bow and bends, y’s, t’s, and w’s – it’s all being done with a clear purpose. While to the rookie athlete it may appear to simply be a warm-up, it’s actually so much more. Bottom’s up is an invitation.
Now, that may sound strange, so let me explain. On the other side of bottom’s up is work. We’ve got a strength component to complete as well as a conditioning workout. When I start the warm-up, I’m inviting the athletes into the work. The depth of the athlete’s connection to the work and the quality of their movements will be driven by how well they warm up. If bottom’s up is just some throw away thing they do, they miss the opportunity to prepare. And not just their physical bodies. There’s the mental aspect of life we all carry into the gym. Bottom’s up is the space and time to let all that go. It’s so much more than a warm-up. Bottom’s up is an opportunity.
In our spiritual life, there are a set of practices the ancients did thousands of years ago. This practice is also an invitation and an opportunity. It’s known as communion. Communion is not dipping a fake cracker into grape juice. Well, it may be for some of you. But that’s not the point of communion. Communion is a celebration of the new life found in Jesus.
Communion is a celebration of the new life found in Jesus.
Later this month, other writers on our team will explain in more detail the elements of communion and their meaning. For now, I want to focus on the point of the experience itself. If you approach communion the same way some athletes approach a warm-up, then you’re probably going to miss it. Because there are some amazing things on the other side of communion – if you’re ready for them.
Communion invites us into a deeper connection with God. When you hold the cracker or wafer or bread in your hands, recognize that’s what Jesus did with His disciples the night He was betrayed. When you taste the wine or juice, that’s what the disciples did. Jesus’ willingness to face death head on means not just a reconnection to God, but a deeper one.
Communion invites us into a deeper faith in Jesus. When Jesus said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he sent,” He made it clear that faith, or belief, is the foundation. But faith changes over time as it is tested. Don’t be tossed about by the tsunamis of life. Come to the communion table and let Jesus deepen your faith.
Finally, communion invites us into deeper obedience in our lives. James said faith without works is useless. We get the privilege to live life for the glory of God, and communion reminds us that because Jesus was obedient even to death on a cross, His resurrection is proof of His promise. And our invitation is to grow more like Jesus everyday as we submit to God in more areas of our life.
One of my coaching mantras is, “Let the work work.” In other words, let the work accomplish the purpose for which it was programmed. Including your warm-ups! Remember, they are an invitation to the work ahead. In the same way, remember that communion is also an invitation. An invitation to a deeper connection to God, a deeper faith in Jesus, and to a deeper obedience in our lives. The Author of Life has programmed a great workout for you – so don’t miss it!
Questions for Reflection:
What’s your experience with communion? Do you practice it regularly?
Of the three invitations communion invites us into, which one connects with you the most?
(deeper connection to God, deeper faith in Jesus, deeper obedience in your life)