Seeking a Spiritual Grounding
By Joyce D. Sohl
We have become a society of seekers – seekers of pleasure, seekers of “things”, seekers of stability, seekers of safety. We are also a people that are seekers of the meaning of life and we attempt to find it in a multitude of ways. Some join clubs or even cults, others read every book they can find on “the spiritual,” while others attend retreats or other spiritual events. All forms of the word “spiritual” are popular today. Let’s explore the understanding of spirituality that we, here at Scarritt-Bennett Center have and work with.
Elisabeth Koenig has defined spirituality as “a relationship with God’s Holy Spirit, known through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the transformational life that should result.” In other words, spirituality is about our relationship with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and the change that relationship will bring in our lives. This, of course, is a Christian understanding of spirituality. Other definitions are common in the Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or other faiths.
As we seek to transform our lives, to gain a spiritual grounding we become part of a life-long process of growth, formation, and enrichment. We want to learn how to listen to God’s voice in our lives. We want to develop a deeper relationship with God. In the process, we want to gain self-knowledge and understanding. We want to pray and follow a variety of spiritual disciplines in order to become more Christ-like. We are on a journey!
How would you asses your spiritual condition today? Consider these questions for individual reflection:
- Do I take time for daily devotions and prayer? If not, should I?
- Have I been a participant in a spiritual study group in the past year? If not, is it time to do so? Where and when?
- What books have I read recently that have enriched my spiritual life and in what way?
- Have you planned to read and use a Lenten resource starting on Ash Wednesday, February 18?
- When did I last participate in a spiritual retreat? Is it time to do so?
Spirituality is both personal and communal. Recall the struggle of the Hebrew people as they renewed over and over again their covenant with God. Today, with other believers, we too must struggle through pain, name the injustices and evil in the world, and then at the same time appropriate God’s promises and presence in our lives. Our spiritual relationship with God should involve us in doing justice and proclaiming and living in hope of God’s shalom. Have you found a community that can help you become grounded in such a spiritual relationship?
Here at the Center we are trying to provide you with tools as well as community on your spiritual journey. Note our services of worship – Tuesdays in the Chapel every Tuesday at 12:30-1:05 and Vespers & All That Jazz each Sunday at 6:30-7:15 pm; follow the retreat schedule as listed on our web site and register to attend when it is appropriate for you; experience the arts as an aid to spiritual growth through poetry readings (monthly) and visual art exhibits each quarter; and participate in a variety of justice related workshops/seminars as found on the website.
Evelyn Underhill has written: “The spiritual life of individuals has to be extended both vertically to God and horizontally to other souls; and the more it grows in both directions, the less merely individual and therefore the more truly personal (reflected back into one’s community) it will be.” May this be true for all us as we continue our spiritual journeys.
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.