Day Ten: You Can Grow in Wisdom and Stature

Growth is at the heart of life. You can embrace a wider world with new perspectives and new visions of yourself and others. You can grow in love, service, and wisdom by opening to God’s resources in your life.

“Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and humankind.” (Luke 2:52) These words describing the twelve year-old Jesus also describe our spiritual journeys. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the word “divinization” is used to describe our holy adventures in embodying divinity in daily life. Our lives are a dynamic evolutionary process in which God wants us to experiment, explore, and envision creative possibilities and, then, live them out in ways that bring joy to us and the world. We can put on the mind of Christ and discover a whole new realm of possibilities for partnership in healing and transforming the world.

As I visit my four month old grandson, I am amazed at how much he grows from week to week. He is growing in height and weight, but just, as importantly, he is growing in awareness of the world and exercising his innate gifts. He is all possibility as he reaches out to embrace each moment’s new adventure. Sadly, many of us quit growing – our souls shrink with age, our courage falters, and our interest in new ideas atrophies. Persons of other ethnicities and national origins become threats rather than teachers. New ideas upset our habitual way of thinking rather than providing opportunities to look the world from a different vantage point. Our visions of God stall in kindergarten while God calls us to see divinity in the smallest cell and the farthest galaxy.

Listening to your life: What new ideas excite you? Where are your growing edges – intellectually, vocationally, and spiritually? Where are you stuck – intellectually, spiritually, or politically? What wild ideas do you need to entertain about yourself, the world, and God?
What great work in personal and planetary healing is God imagining for you?

God wants you grow – to color outside the lines and discover new dimensions of yourself and reality. Imagine yourself as having the mind of Christ, embracing all reality in hospitable welcome, or the vision of the Bodhisattva, seeing enlightenment in every encounter! Well, that’s what God wants you to do – stretch, embrace, and grow – as you evolve in harmony with God’s vision of personal and cosmic adventure.

Today, let these affirmations open you to a wider world and understanding of yourself.

I am constantly growing in wisdom and stature.
Every situation is an opportunity for spiritual growth.
I embrace diversity and complexity with love and understanding.
I embrace God’s call to growth in (a particular situation.)

Enter every encounter prayerfully, asking God to awaken you to possibilities for growth, adventure, healing, and love.

About Bruce Epperly

Rev. Bruce Epperly, Ph.D., serves as Pastor at South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Centerville, MA. Prior to coming to Cape Cod in 2013, he served on the faculties and often in administrative and chaplaincy roles at Georgetown University, Claremont School of Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Bruce is currently a professor in spirituality, ministry, and theology in the doctoral program at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. He has served as pastor or interim pastor of congregations in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He is the author or co-author of over 35 books in the areas of theology, spirituality, ministerial excellence and spiritual formation, scripture, and healing and wholeness, including Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God; Finding God in Suffering: A Journey with Job; From Here to Eternity: Preparing for the Next Adventure; and A Center in the Cyclone: Clergy Self-care in the 21st Century.