Journey in the Mystery of God
Steve Veazey, President of Community of Christ, recently shared in an interview with Linda Booth on the Project Zion Podcast in a very interesting discussion that touched on spirituality:
I think it’s proven that hard times cause more people to spiritually yearn to seek God for help and hope for the future.
I think to understand this phenomenon, at this time, we need to recognize that prior to the pandemic there already were a growing number of people who were migrating in their minds and choices away from what they perceived as organized religion, with, with all of its various aspects, to what, what they consider to be spirituality or authentic spirituality without all of the trappings of what they considered to be ineffective institutions that, that had been established and people were doing that because they were searching for authentic relationship with God. So the pandemic has, in my mind, accelerated the movement of those people who are searching for spirituality.
And then on top of that, there are those who, because of the pandemic have kind of awoke to their spiritual needs. Some of the author calls it a recognized hole in the soul that one can’t fill any other way other than through connecting with the eternal Spirit of light and truth that we refer to, of course, as God.
So, with those two, two trends converging, we know that churches which increased their support and their resources for individual spiritual formation and growth and renewal flourished more during the pandemic than others that just decided to wait out the pandemic with the hope that they could return to normal. Soon, they, they expressed a real felt need in people’s lives and so, for me, that implication is clear.
For the church going into the future, the need and opportunity is we must increase our emphasis on spiritual formation that connects with people’s deep yearning for authentic spiritual relationship to God, others and the creation, which, as we know, really is the same relationship. We, we talk about our relationships to God, to others, to the world around us, but that, that’s really all the same spiritual relationship at its base. So spiritual companions and guides, resources, supports for families, spiritual formation activities that people can pursue daily in all the settings of their lives, that’s what’s going to be very important in the future.
Here in Lamoni Heartland Mission Center we have recently launched an online spiritual formation group: Journey in the Mystery of God. You are invited to join this group and enter into conversation in community regarding topics like prayer, spiritual formation and other topics that help us Journey in the Mystery of God. You can join the group through meetup.com by searching for “Community of Christ (Iowa).”
Spiritual Practices for Today
“Ignatian Contemplation is prayer with Scripture. It is meeting God through story. The prayer develops as you “live into” a Scripture story with all your senses and imagination. You become a participant in the story, and you continue in the story in your heart, mind, imagination, spirit and body after the reading ends.” (Luther.edu)
Find a scripture story and spend time living into the story. Engage your sense of wonder, mystery and imagination as you become a participant in the story. After reading the story from the perspective of someone or something in the story, take time to contemplate this new perspective. Offer prayer from this perspective that dwells in the story and reveals new understanding and appreciation.
After spending time in Ignatian Contemplation, consider this prayer:
Pray: Light of the Spirit, illumine me and show me your paths. Lead me into right relationships with you, creation, my community and all people with whom I interact. Teach me to be unafraid of unsettled questions and to relax in contemplation of those things that remain mystery. Help us to improve our understanding and grow in your holy presence. We pray in the name of the resurrected Christ. Amen.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16
How is this passage speaking to you today?
Download or open the Community of Christ app on your smartphone or visit www.cofchrist.org to read today’s Daily Bread and Prayer for Peace. After reading the Daily Bread, consider these questions:
When have you felt connected to and a part of creation?
What does it mean to say that creation is sacred?
Pray the Mission Prayer: God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me the courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.
2021 Guiding Question: Are we moving towards Jesus, the peaceful One?