Celebration of Discipline
Richard Foster’s excellent book, “Celebration of Discipline, The Path to Spiritual Growth”
explores many of the classical spiritual disciplines: meditation, prayer, fasting, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. Foster shares from his own experience and involvement with the Quakers. While he does quote from many of the leaders of the Friends Church he by no means limits himself to this stream of the Christian Faith. He pulls from many of the influential voices through out Christian history.
I know you might be thinking that a book about the Christian spiritual disciplines is probably quite dry and lacking lustre. That is usually what has kept me from any such titles in the past. Actually this book is quite full of energy and life. He indeed challenges the reader to consider that some of the disciplines do take some real effort, but he is so very quick to qualify these notions with the reality of the life that is behind all of these disciplines. A whole chapter is about “Celebration” and joy.
In fact he says that the discipline of celebration is a kind of linchpin to the rest. Concerning celebration Richard writes, “Celebration is central to all the Spiritual Disciplines.” “Celebration brings joy into life, and joy makes us strong. Scripture tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength” “Joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Often I am inclined to think that joy is the motor, the thing that keeps everything else going. With out joyous celebration to infuse the other Disciplines, we will sooner or later abandon them. Joy produces energy. Joy makes us strong. Ancient Israel was commanded to gather together three times a year to celebrate the goodness of God. Those were festival holidays in the highest sense. They were the experiences that gave strength and cohesion to the people of Israel.”