What is Christian spirituality? If the popular meaning of spirituality is “experience of the Beyond or the transcendent or of God,” Robert Webber, in The Divine Embrace, contends Christian spirituality is about “God’s embrace.”
How do you define “spirituality”? What definitions are you hearing? Are our definitions comprehensive enough to be true to the Bible?
There are four words he explores in the Introduction:
God’s Acts and the Source of Spirituality:
1. God’s story: postmodernity has found its way back to story as a fundamental form of truth-telling. The focus now is on story, imagination, mystery, ambiguity and vision. The story of God is the story the Church tells of God’s redemption in Christ through the Spirit — it is the narrative of Scripture writ large in the very life of Jesus.
2. Mystical-union: God’s gift and work — not ours — empower us to live life as God intended, “in union with the purposes of the Creator and Redeemer of the world” (18). It is not about a journey into the self but the journey into God. The mystical is our union with the Trinitarian God.
Our Actions are:
3. Contemplation: prayerful pondering of the mystery God’s grace, a loving look at God, delight in God.
4. Participation: the denial of self in order to participate in God. Jesus is the primary example.
Put together, we have the Divine Embrace.
It is the mystical-union with God through Jesus Christ by the Spirit. It is situated in the story of God. It is incarnational.