Contemplatives in Action with the Hope

Concepts in Action with the Hope

PAN Yi Jung

Due to the epidemic, I have had the opportunity to perceive different Chinese Christians' struggles and spiritual needs through online conferences and workshops. People often asked how we can recognize God's presence and activity when the future looks uncertain. Many church leaders shared their sense of helplessness when facing the uncertainty ahead. Contrary to the practice of the last decade, the changing world drove church leaders to adjust their strategies in developing ministries. Numerous ministers are exploring new approaches to guide their congregations.
This article analyzes the nine basic approaches in the tradition of contemplative spirituality and reflects on their different orientations in spiritual transformation. Because of their diverse emphases of spiritual practices, there is variety in the combination between contemplation and action. This article highlights the common ground of contemplation situated between the nine approaches—to get closer to God and to experience the presence of God, which is the ultimate hope in daily life. Especially, the contemplative is emphasized to experience God's interaction in action.
The notion of contemplative in action opens up the passionate concern of the real world, which suggests a profound understanding of God comes from contemplation as well as action in a real context. From the perspective of practical theology, the construction of theology should pay attention to the unique situation of the varied place, including different cultures, personal experiences, and perspectives of marginalized groups. Both historical situations and human experience can be important locations for understanding God's actions. Furthermore, the transcendent God has always been at work in all things. He is willing to act in individuals and churches. He calls and guides people through the Holy Spirit, and even accompanies the world through churches. God continuously leads history towards His salvation plan. Moreover, because the kingdom of God is constantly being manifested in human beings and within the world, the actual practice itself is the locus of theology. Individuals and churches reflect on the Christian faith through serving the Lord and experiencing His presence in grounded practice.
This article argues that Christians can realize hope not only in the far future but also in daily life and communal hospitality by establishing daily rhythms between contemplative life and active life. Facing the unknown journey, God's leading presence and companionship become pilgrims' hope and strength.

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